Public transport, train service may be restored 'soon'
Shibli briefs media after federal cabinet meeting, says appointments made to 12 ministries in violation of rules
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Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday hinted at restoring the public transport and train service as the government is preparing to ease the coronavirus lockdown further in the coming days.
At a meeting of the federal cabinet in Islamabad chaired by the prime minister, cabinet members were unanimous on relaxing the lockdown further. Addressing the meeting, the prime minister spoke openly about the coronavirus situation in the country and his opposition to the lockdown. According to the sources, the prime minister said he had been against the lockdown from day one. He said the lockdown would be eased further gradually.
Sources said the prime minister hinted at restoring the public transport and train service soon after consultations with the provinces. The prime minister said that people would have to be educated about the standard operating procedures for safety against coronavirus and the necessary preventive measures.
At the meeting, Asim Saleem Bajwa, special assistant to prime minister on information and broadcasting, sought funds to run a publicity campaign on the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme. The sources cited Bajwa as saying that billions of rupees were distributed to people under the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme, but no publicity of this government-run programme was done. He said the government must provide funds for publicity of such a positive step.
In response, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to release funds to Bajwa’s department for a publicity campaign.
Also, the cabinet discussed the issue of leak of various official proceedings. The meeting was told that work was under way to ascertain when and how the official proceedings were leaked. The special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting also spoke on this issue. However, further discussion on the issue was put off until next meeting of the federal cabinet.
Briefing the media after the federal cabinet meeting, Federal Information Minister Shibli Faraz quoted the prime minister as saying that the power sector had a very critical role to play in the national economy and development. He said that authorities concerned had been directed to decide the cotton support price. He said the federal cabinet has approved members for the National Commission on the Status of Women. He said the federal cabinet has also approved appointments to some key posts in the Statistics Division and some other departments.
The information minister said the federal cabinet has decided to change the rules and regulations for appointment of heads of different departments. The process of changes in these rules and regulations would be completed within a week. He said the federal cabinet was told that appointments were made to 12 ministries in violation of rules. He said the prime minister has taken notice of these appointments and sought a report on such appointments in other ministries as well within a week.
The information minister said that so-call champions of democracy did not attend today’s session of the National Assembly. He asked, “Why was the leader of the opposition absent from the assembly session today?” He said the leader of the opposition was absent from the assembly session requisitioned by the opposition.
He said that people should follow the coronavirus prevention measures after the government has eased the lockdown. He said that social distancing could help control the spread of coronavirus. He said that every individual would have to do his national duty and practice social distancing.