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ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet which is scheduled to meet on Tuesday (Oct 27) with Prime Minister in the chair will discuss economic and fast changing political situation in the country, in addition to approval of signing of pacts of MLA with non-treaty countries.

Well-informed sources told Business Recorder, the cabinet will discuss all aspects of severe criticism on national institutions at public gatherings of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), headed by Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman. The legal implications of address of PML (N) Supremo, Nawaz Sharif will also come under discussion. Prime Minister's Advisor on Interior and Asset Recovery Unit, Shehzad Akbar will update the Cabinet on letters written to the UK government for deportation of Nawaz Sharif.

The Cabinet will also discuss law and order situation in the country with special reference to recent terrorist attacks on law enforcing agencies.

The cabinet will be given a detailed presentation on entire sequence of events on wheat procurement including details of all the decisions in this regard taken by the Cabinet and the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) since January, 2020. Presentations will also be given on detailed timelines of wheat import till January 30, 2021, sugar prices and sugar import schedule.

Wheat's Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 1,600/40kg for 2020-21 crop, approved by the ECC on Monday will also be placed before the Cabinet for ratification. The Cabinet is expected to revise MSP upward as farmers are unhappy with the new prices.

The issues related to energy sector, ie, supply of gas during winter and reduction in electricity prices for industry for the next three years will also be approved.

According to sources, Interior Ministry in its summary on MLAs with non treaty countries has informed the cabinet that the globalization of crime requires states to have a wide range of methods for international cooperation with countries from the same region (regional instruments) and from different regions of the world (international instruments). International cooperation is a process by which countries seek and provide many forms of legal assistance from and to other countries in criminal and other matters. International cooperation may be carried out through a formal request of legal assistance from the Central Authority of one state to another state through which the requested authority is asked to perform one or more specified actions like collecting the evidence or interviewing the witnesses, etc. on behalf of the requesting country. These requests are conventionally transmitted through diplomatic channels or via central authorities. The requested country is expected to respond at the earliest possible time. Pakistan is committed to provide timely and quality international cooperation to the international community in relation to criminal matters. To this end, new Laws, Policies and Procedures have been instituted to ensure that authorities are able to respond to and seek quality requests for assistance.

A standalone Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Act 2020 was passed and enacted on 12th August 2020. Section 3 of the said Act regulates the procedure for rendering and soliciting Mutual Legal Assistance in criminal matters in two ways.

The Mutual Legal Assistance may be provided by Pakistan to a country on the principle of reciprocity reduced in writing (Bilateral-Treaty) where the Federal Government considers it expedient to provide Mutual Legal Assistance in a criminal matter to a country which has not entered into an agreement with Pakistan, (on the basis of reciprocity).

Ministry of Interior has received 4 MLAs through Ministry of Foreign Affairs in criminal matters from Peru, Hungary and Colombia. The requesting countries have no MLA treaty with Pakistan and the requests are made on the principle of reciprocity in writing. Moreover, Ministry of Interior has also received Mutual Legal Assistance in criminal matters front the Home Departments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan which are required to be sent to Afghanistan and Iran through Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A meeting in this respect was held in Ministry of Interior under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Interior wherein the Executive Committee of the Central Authority decided to present the case to the Federal Government/Cabinet for approval to extend Mutual Legal Assistance to non-treaty countries on the basis of reciprocity and to forward MLA requests received from Provinces.

Other agenda items are as follows: (i) presentation on criminal law reforms; (ii) cancellation of RPT licence of Askari Airline; (iii) ratification of the proposed amendments in the Articles 50(a) and 56 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation passed by ICAO Assembly 39th session; (iv) one time permission on other pre-shipment agencies to carry out pre-shipment inspection for import of wheat by TCP; (v) export of livestock to Gulf dignitaries; (vi) policy directive under section-8 of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organization) Act, 1996 for Right of Way to install or maintain telecommunication equipment and system; (vii) approval of restructuring and revival plan of Pakistan Railways; (viii) ratification of the decisions taken by the CCoE in its meeting held on October 15, 2020; and (ix) ratification of the decision taken by the ECC on October 19, 2020.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020