The Federal Cabinet met under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, today, the 18th of August, 2016,to discuss different agenda items.

After recitation of the Holy Quran, fatehawas offered for the victims of the recent terrorist incident in Quetta. The Prime Minister directed that a comprehensive policy be formulated for the victims of terrorism across the country. The policy must envisage an integrated livelihood, education and employment package for the families of the deceased. The policy is to be placed before the next cabinet meeting for consideration.

The Prime Minister, during a detailed briefing on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), stressed that the projects in the program are the top priority of the government and accordingly, concerted efforts should be made to ensure timely progress. The Ministry of Planning, Development and Reformwas directed to ensure completion of the first batch of projects in energy and infrastructure sectors, by 2017-18.He further stated that speedy progress on these projects is necessary for addressing the existing shortfalls and future demands. The completion of early harvest projects will go a long way in elimination of load shedding by summer of 2018.

The Prime Minister noted that significant progress is being made on the western route of the CPEC project. Employment opportunities will be generated for the local populace which will generate economic activity and enhance national wealth. He further stated that CPEC will ensure equitable benefits amongst different areas of Pakistan, including the most underdeveloped areas. It will not only connect 200 million people of Pakistan but would also open up avenues of cooperation amongst people, communities and states across the region.The Cabinet was informed that considerable part of portfolio under the CPEC has been energized while the remaining are in the pipeline.

The Prime Minister expressed his firm support for the Thar Coal project, and stated that had its potential been exploited 50 years back, the nation would now have been an energy exporter.

Progress made so far on the Gwadar port project and allied infrastructure facilities was also reviewed in the meeting. The Prime Minister directed the concerned departments for making progress on initiation of work on Gwadar Airport and the Eastbay Expressway at the earliest. He further added that work on the technical and vocational training institutes of Gwadar be done on a fast track basis, making them operational as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister stressed upon the concerned ministries to expedite the process of land acquisition for the hydel power projects, and adopt a forward looking strategy for overall economic development including energy and infrastructure components, so as to cater to the needs of the future generations.

The Cabinet, while approving in principle the summary of the Housing and Works division regarding the Joint Venture Policy for Land Development in collaboration with

the private sector, with the objective of providing accommodation or plots to government servants before retirement, formed a Committee to fine tune the policy guidelines. The policy envisages providing plots to 100,000 Federal Government employees. The Committee shall comprise of the Minister for Housing and works, Mr. Akram Durrani,Minister for Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Minister for Law and Justice, Mr.Zahid Hamid, and may co-opt any other member. The Committee will present its report to the Cabinet.

The Federal Cabinet considered and accorded approval to the following:

·         Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Government of Turkmenistan on Defense Cooperation

·         Ex-post facto approval for signing of the “Loan Agreement for Energy Sectors Reforms Programme-II” between the Governments of Pakistan and Japan/JICA

·         Negotiating Memorandum of Understanding between office of the Auditor General of Pakistan and the National Audit Department of Malaysia on Cooperation in Public Sector Auditing

·         Approval for signing of bilateral MoU between the Supreme Audit Institution of Pakistan and the State Audit Office of Vietnam on Cooperation in Public Sector Auditing

·         Approval for initiation of negotiations between the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Central Bank of Russia on signing of MoU on “Banking Supervisory Cooperation”.

·         Approval for signing of agreement between Pakistan and Turkmenistan on Abolition of Visa for Holders of Diplomatic Passports

·         Approval for signing the Negotiated Treaty on Extradition between the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Republic of Kazakhstan – Interior Division

·         Approval in principle for initiating negotiations on the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Government of the Republic of Kenya on Cooperation in Combating Illicit Trafficking and Abuse of Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and their Precursors.