Cabinet gives green light for prisoners swap with UK, Ireland
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10 days ago

Cabinet gives green light for prisoners swap with UK, Ireland

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Thursday approved a protocol for prisoners swap between Pakistan and the United Kingdom and Ireland. The cabinet approved a 21-point agenda and reviewed the implementation of decisions taken during the cabinet meetings in the past.Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar had met British Home Secretary Sajid Javid in London in October to discuss the issues related to the provision of mutual legal assistance, extradition requests, prisoner transfer agreement and steps to curb money laundering as well as recovery of assets acquired through illegal means.Chairing the federal cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister s Office (PMO), the prime minister briefed the members on his China visit and said his maiden official visit to China was more successful than expected .He said the host country had assured every kind of assistance to Pakistan . He maintained that for the first time in the history of Pakistan-China bilateral relationship, the Chinese leaders had assured Pakistan of its full support in the agriculture sector.Briefing the media outside the Parliament House after the cabinet meeting, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken the federal cabinet into confidence on his very successful visit to China.He said the cabinet had noted that with this visit, Pakistan would be in a position to handle the issue of balance of payments effectively. He said technical matters would soon be chalked out to finalise the modalities of Chinese assistance for Pakistan.The minister said Finance Minister Asad Umar was also engaged with the IMF to seek further financial package to overcome the financial crunch. He said the cabinet had approved revamping of the Evacuees Trust Properties Board to improve its functioning and better utilisation of its properties.It also approved appointment of former federal secretary for information and broadcasting Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera as Secretary of Investment Board. Responding to a query, the minister took an exception to the banner headlines by a section of the media about the so-called departure of Aasia Bibito a foreign country. He said the newspapers acted irresponsibly on a very serious issue.He said the government will consider as to what action could be taken against such media outlets. The minister said a review petition was pending with the Supreme Court in the Aasia Bibi case and the apex court was the competent authority to take a decision on this legal and constitutional matter.To a question, Fawad said there was a deadlock on appointing the chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC). He said the opposition was insisting on appointing Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Mian Shahbaz Sharif as the PAC chairman and asked if it won t be ridiculous to appoint Shahbaz, who was facing corruption charges, as the PAC chief.He said if Shahbaz Sharif was appointed as the PAC chairman then how would he hold his elder brother Muhammad Nawaz Sharif accountable, who is also facing corruption charges. He said the opposition was making hue and cry to get relief in corruption cases but it will not be possible at all.To another question, he said the government was working to bring reforms in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws and a task force headed by Law Minister Farogh Naseem was finalising proposals to this effect.The prime minister approved a summary empowering the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to issue a tax directory. The FBR will publish a separate tax directory for members of parliament.The federal cabinet approved the appointment of Rizwan Memon as Chairman Trading Corporation of Pakistan, and sanctioned the issuance of a license to Liberty Air Ltd. On the recommendations of the Ministry of Interior, the cabinet also gave approval for taking several individuals into protective custody.A variety of international agreements were also given the green light, chiefly among which were exchange-of-prisoners treaties with England and Ireland. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran chaired a meeting of parliamentary party of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) at the Parliament House.The meeting discussed the overall political and economic situation of the country, including matters relating to the proceedings of parliament. In another significant development, Prime Minister Khan placed a ban on the treatment of federal ministers and ministers of state at the government expense.All advisers, SAPMs, federal secretaries and other senior officials will also be facing a similar ban. The prime minister issued instructions that no application should be received for treatment abroad at the government expense. The notification pertaining to the ban on treatment abroad at government expense has been issued.The prime minister declined to entertain questions about the amount of money that has been given by China in the visit of prime minister. He told the parliamentarians that China had extended historic assistance. I cannot divulge the volume of the amount that China has given. In fact, China has stopped us from making their fiscal assistance public as other Chinese partners could raise the issue on account of it. The prime minister said he was flabbergasted to know about the astonishing corruption and embezzlement. He was of the view that a tiny fraction of people was facing corruption cases while big fish were yet to be netted.Talking about the last month s sit-in by religious parties, he said such activity could only be stopped through talks and reconciliation. People were paid for attending the sit-in and demonstrations.Prime Minister Khan also asked his party members to move in the house in a careful manner. It is not essential that everything asked by the opposition should be responded. Imran Khan announced that none of the members of the ruling alliance would speak in the House without prior permission of Defence Minister Pervez Khattak.He told the members that it wouldn t be possible for him to turn up in the National Assembly at least for two months since he was dealing with numerous challenges. I will attend the session regularly after two months, Imran, who is the Leader of the House in both the houses of Parliament, announced.

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