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Islamabad: The federal government on Tuesday said that number of reservations of the United Kingdom on Pakistan's coronavirus data has been sorted out. While briefing the media about the decision taken by the federal cabinet in its meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry expressed hope that the British government will review its policy.

He said that the price of coronavirus patients' injection has been reduced from around Rs5,000 to Rs3,000. Fawad said that Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan had spoken about Pakistan's coronavirus testing mechanism with Britain's chief medical scientist.

Pakistan was retained on the "red list", in the latest review of the country's travel ban. The cabinet discussed and expressed their concerns on Pakistan being on the UK "red list" and hoped the British government would review its policy.

The minister said that the NADRA has been allowed to establish a National Data Repository. He said as the cabinet approved funds allocation for payment of Roosevelt Hotel dues, the hotel will be returned to Pakistan, which was linked to the RekoDiq case.

Red list travel rules: Pakistan presents counter to UK's argument

The federal cabinet also ratified the decisions of the Economic Coordination Council (ECC) August 31. He said that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Pakistan-UK readmission has been postponed. He said that we already had implemented the Mandatory Service Act in Radio Pakistan.

Furthermore, the cabinet decided that the Pakistan Army will provide security for the New Zealand cricket team, coming to Pakistan as a security plan has been made. Fawad said that there were many hindrances in the PTI government's way since they took over power but they overcame the difficulties.

The minister said PM Imran has directed to constitute a committee to evolve policy for land acquisition. The premier expressed serious reservations on the process for acquiring land of poor people in Islamabad to distribute plots among bureaucrats, journalists, and judges, he added.

Coal importers say they’re happy over cut in port charges

The PM constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Planning Minister Asad Umar that will evolve a comprehensive policy to check exploitation of the poor people, the minister added.

He said the policy will formulate a system, so that land of common people cannot be acquired to appease bureaucrats, journalists, and judges. He said that in 2017-18, the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were facing losses of Rs286 billion and now if the NHA losses of Rs140 billion are excluded from the total losses, the remaining SOEs have been converted into profit of Rs31 billion.

Fawad said that enforcement of the Essential Services Act in Radio Pakistan was also approved. He said the government is also working on reviving the cinema industry, for which import of foreign movies, except Indian films, will be allowed.

Fawad said port charges on exports have been reduced by 50 percent. He said voluntary retirement and golden handshake scheme for the employees of the Pakistan Medical Council also got the cabinet's nod.

'Pakistan needs new strategy to rationalize port charges'

It was approved to establish a joint security commission between Pakistan and Uzbekistan. Fawad said that the cabinet held a detailed discussion on the electoral reforms to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections in the country.

He said it is the first government, which is itself calling for electoral reforms, but it is unfortunate that the opposition has no interest in this regard. He said the opposition's leading parties, including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan People's Party do not have any interest in making the electoral system transparent as they have never come to power without rigging.

Fawad, however, said that PM and his government is committed to go ahead with the electoral reforms, including introduction of the Electronic Voting Machines.

He criticised PML-N leader Javed Latif as a "political joker" and alleged the PML-N and the PPP have no interest in betterment of the country. He termed opposition as the "most incompetent opposition ever".

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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