Pakistan cabinet says blasphemy intolerable, unacceptable

By: News Desk      Published: 01:23 AM, 28 Oct, 2020
Pakistan cabinet says blasphemy intolerable, unacceptable

The federal cabinet on Tuesday took a strong exception to the publication of blasphemous caricatures in France and said that disrespect to the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) would not be tolerated. 

The cabinet, which met in Islamabad with Prime Minister Imran Khan in chair, condemned in strongest terms the remarks of French President Emmanuel Macron that hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims. 

During the meeting, it was reiterated that every available forum would be used for effective representation of sentiments of Muslims regarding the blasphemous caricatures

In this regard, reservations of the Pakistani nation as well as the Muslim world would be conveyed to the world through the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). 

The Ministry of National Food Security briefed the cabinet in detail about the procurement and availability of wheat. It was told that availability of 1.5 million metric tons of wheat would be ensured by January 31, 2021. 

The Ministry of Commerce briefed the cabinet about the schedule of wheat import and told that all consignments would arrive on time. 

The Ministry of Industries and Production apprised the cabinet of the import and availability of sugar. It was told that 266,939 metric tons of sugar was available in the country at present. 

The cabinet was informed that the private sector had already imported 99,639 metric tons of sugar while another 52,951 metric tons would be available in November.

It was told that the required 300,000 metric tons of sugar would be available by November 30, 2020.

The prime minister directed the officials to develop an organised and coordinated mechanism for timely assessment of wheat and sugar needs of the country, including the needs of provinces.

He said in order to overcome shortages, hurdlers in the way of imports should be eliminated. He particularly stressed on ensuring the import of quality wheat.

The prime minister directed the ministries to fill all vacant posts of chief executive officers (CEOs) and managing directors within three months, and submit report in the next cabinet meeting entailing reasons for not filling the vacancies.

The Establishment Division presented a detailed briefing over the vacant posts in various ministries, divisions and allied departments. It was apprised that a total of 129 posts of CEOs and managing directors had been lying vacant in the Federal Government institutions whereas 33 seats among them had been vacant since merger of different departments.

The relevant authorities from the Ministry of Law and Justice gave a briefing to the cabinet about reforms in the Pakistan Penal Code and other laws. The cabinet told the officials to present the reforms to the cabinet committee on legal reforms and then submit to the cabinet for approval within three months.

The cabinet also gave approval for the proposed amendments to the International Civil Aviation Convention which were presented by the Ministry of Aviation.

It also approved four inspection companies to pre-examine batch of imported wheat by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan.

The cabinet accorded approval to the plan to export animals to Gulf countries. It also approved requests for mutual legal cooperation made by Peru, Hungry and Colombia to the Government of Pakistan.

It referred the issuance of policy matter under the Telecommunication Act 1996 to its legal reforms committee and it would take a decision after receiving recommendations from the committee.

The Ministry of Railways apprised the meeting that a comprehensive plan had been chalked out, making the Pakistan Railways profitable and an autonomous body. Reorganisation steps were in line with direction of the Supreme Court. The ministries of Finance and Law and the Establishment Division supported the plan.

The prime minister observed that the plan would help realize the ML-1 project on time, and directed for completion of restoration and reorganization process in the stipulated period.

The cabinet ratified decisions of its Committee on Energy which were taken by the latter during its meeting on October 15 this year. It also approved inclusion of the minister for industries and production in the Cabinet Committee on Energy.

The cabinet also partially ratified decision of the Economic Coordination Committee’s decisions taken in its meeting on October 19, 2020.

The prime minister directed the Ministry of National Food Security to formulate a comprehensive package for farmers.

The cabinet approved extension in additional charge of Director General of Civil Aviation Authority to the Secretary Aviation till December 31, 2020, however, sought candidates from the private sector through advertisement after making necessary amendments in the relevant laws under the direction of Supreme Court.  The process should be completed within two weeks.

The minister for planning gave a detailed briefing over the economic indicators. It was informed that in the current fiscal year, during July to August, the current account balance had increased to 1.2 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), which was a positive economic development.

Compared to last year, the export volume increased by 27 per cent whereas the rupee had been strengthened. During the period from July to August, Rs 1,004 billion tax had been collected which exceeded the set target.

After payment of debt, the foreign exchange reserves had witnessed record increase which was a big success of the government.  The Large Scale Manufacturing registered an increase of 3.7 per cent when compared with the last year.

The cabinet also approved constitution of National Medical and Dental Academic Board under the Pakistan Medical Commission Act 2020.

It also accorded its approval for remission in sentences in view of the holy occasion of Eid Milad-un-Nabi.