Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The federal cabinet, in its meeting on Wednesday with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the chair, unanimously endorsed the stance of National Security Committee (NSC) which had expressed deep disappointment over recent statements of the US administration.

In the meeting which was called to discuss the strategy and future policy of Pakistan after Donald Trump’s ‘incomprehensible’ tweet, the committee viewed that the American statements were detrimental to the bilateral relationship between Pakistan and the United States, a relationship that had been developed over generations, PM Office media wing said in a press release.

“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,” it added.

Trump in his tweet bashed Pakistan and accused the country of “providing safe havens to terrorists”.

Trump attacks Pakistan in first tweet of 2018, says US got ‘lies’ for aid

“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” Trump said in a tweet and added, “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

On Tuesday, National Security Committee discussed the Trump administration’s decision to withhold $255m military aid to Pakistan.

‘Deeply disappointed’ Pakistan will not take measures in haste over Trump accusations: NSC

At the outset of the Wednesday’s meeting, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif briefed the cabinet about the background of the recent statements by the American leadership and the discussion held during a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) of the federal cabinet.

The cabinet also considered other agenda items as well. It considered a proposal for granting extension in the Proof of Registration (POR) Cards and Tripartite Agreement (Pakistan – Afghanistan – UNHCR) for Afghan Refugees beyond 31st December, 2017.

After detailed discussion, the cabinet agreed to grant only 30 days extension for POR and also decided that the issue of early repatriation of Afghan refugees should be raised with the UNHCR and with the international community.

Pakistan’s economy had carried the burden of hosting Afghan refugees since long and in the present circumstances could not sustain it further, the cabinet emphasised.

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 maximum retail prices 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 Drug Pricing Policy 2015.

Other approvals accorded by the cabinet included:-

– Placement of “Institute for Arts and Culture Bill, 2017” before the Parliament.

– Permission to allow transit of 01×40 feet container STC containing 51 package of spare parts for vehicles of United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) from Karachi to Kabul.

– Signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on bilateral consultations between the ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Portuguese Republic.

– Signing of a memorandum of intent (MOI) between Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) Pakistan and Confindustria Marmomacchine of Italy for cooperation in stone sector.

– Signing of an MoU between Ministry of Defence of the Arab Republic of Egypt and Ministry of Defence of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the field of defence.

– Ratification of ‘Agreement on Military, Technical, Science and Education Cooperation between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Government of Bosnia & Herzegovina’.

– Execution of gas development schemes during the present government.

– Ratification of recommendations of the cabinet.

– Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) in respect of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (Amendment) Bill, 2017.–APP