Meeting decides to raise issue of Afghan refugees’ early repatriation with UNHCR, int’l community
Unanimously endorses stance adopted on Tuesday by NSC over recent statements by American leadership
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday unanimously endorsed the stance adopted by National Security Committee (NSC) over the recent statements by the American leadership, terming them “detrimental” to the bilateral relationship between Islamabad and Washington—a relationship that has developed over generations.
The cabinet—which met here at the Prime Minister’s Office with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair—was briefed by Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif on the background of the recent statements made by the American leadership and the discussion held during the 17th meeting of the NSC of the cabinet.
The cabinet, unanimously endorsing the NSC’s stance, expressed deep disappointment over recent statements of the American leadership.
“Pakistan has rendered huge sacrifices, both in terms of loss of precious human lives and substantial damage to the economy. Achievements made by Pakistan in curbing the menace of terrorism have been acknowledged throughout the world, reiterated the cabinet,” an official handout said.
The cabinet considered a proposal for granting extension in the Proof of Registration (POR) Cards and Tripartite Agreement (Pakistan–Afghanistan–UNHCR) for Afghan Refugees beyond December 31, 2017.
Sources told Pakistan Today that initially, the majority of the ministers were of the view that the Afghan refugees should be immediately repatriated to their own country. However, the sources said that after a briefing by Minister of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Abdul Qadir Baloch on key issues being faced by the Afghan migrants, the cabinet agreed to grant a 30-day extension for POR.
The meeting also decided that the issue of early repatriation of Afghan refugees shall be raised with the UNHCR and with the international community. Pakistan’s economy has carried the burden of hosting Afghan refugees since long, and in the present circumstances, the country cannot sustain it further, emphasised the cabinet.
The federal cabinet also accorded approval for publication of block-level provisional results of census 2017.
The agenda item of approval of Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs) of additional pack sizes of already registered drugs, approval of increase in MRPs of drugs under para 8 of the Drug Pricing Policy-2015 and threshold limits of lower priced drugs under para 11 of the Drug Pricing Policy-2015 were discussed at length, and the cabinet accorded approval as per the policy mentioned earlier.
The cabinet also accorded approval to the placement of “Institute for Arts and Culture Bill, 2017” before the Parliament. Moreover, permission to allow transit of 1×40 Feet Container STC containing 51 Packages of Spare Parts for Vehicles of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from Karachi to Kabul was also accorded.
The meeting also approved the signing of MoU on bilateral consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Portuguese Republic.
The signing of a memorandum of intent (MOI) between Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) and Confindustria Marmomacchine of Italy for cooperation in the stone sector was also given approval.
The signing of MoU between Ministry of Defence of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence on the field of defence was also approved.
Ratification of agreement on military, technical, science and education cooperation between the government of Pakistan and the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina was also accorded.
Lastly, execution of gas development schemes during the PML-N government and ratification of recommendations of Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) in respect of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was also approved.
PAKISTAN LOST RS10TN IN 16-YEAR FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM
Earlier on Tuesday, official documents presented during the NSC meeting informed the session that Pakistan suffered losses worth Rs10tn in fighting terrorism over the last 16 years.
Officials during the NSC meeting on Tuesday briefed the participants about the financial losses incurred in fighting the war on terror, sources said.
The documents suggest that Pakistan suffered a loss Rs5.3tn in its tax recovery system, sources disclosed. Similarly, Pakistan also witnessed a decline in foreign investment by Rs1.99tn, whereas Rs928bn in damages were caused to the country’s basic infrastructure.
In reference to privatisation, the country incurred losses worth Rs262bn, while an additional Rs15bn damages were incurred due to persisting uncertainty, sources added.
The highest losses incurred by Pakistan, i.e. Rs2.03tn, came in year 2010-11, followed by Rs1.96tn in 2012-13.
In 2009-10, Pakistan suffered losses of Rs1.13tn losses.