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Govt. has no plans to enhance gas and electricity prices!



ISLAMABAD: Following the Federal Cabinet Meeting held here today with PM Imran Khan, Information Minister Fawad Hussain briefed the Media about decisions taken. 

Fawad told that government had no plans to change the tax rate for salaried class and increase prices of gas and electricity. He said it was the philosophy of the PTI government not to add burden on salaried class and farmers.

According to details, the cabinet decided to abolish the Ministry for Capital Administration and Development Division. He said Capital Development Authority will work under the Ministry of Interior. Informing that the drive against encroachments in Islamabad would continue, the minister told the government had so far recovered state land worth 7.5 billion rupees from illegal occupants.

The federal cabinet decided to import one hundred thousand tons of urea (for which Rs. 4b will be spent by the Govt.) and ensure the provision of gas to local fertilizer plants to meet urea requirement for the upcoming Rabi crop. Fawad claimed that the previous government did not supply gas to the fertilizer plants and also allowed export of urea, which created a shortage of urea for the next crop.

Giving detail of expenses and income of the ongoing Metro Bus projects, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the government had to pay a total of eight billion rupees subsidy annually on the Metro Bus services being run in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Multan. He said 4.2 billion rupees subsidy is being provided on Lahore Metro Bus and two billion rupees each on Rawalpindi and Multan Metro Bus services. 

He said Punjab government will decide whether to continue this heavy subsidy on Metro trains or not. The Minister said on completion, 3.5 billion rupees subsidy will have to be provided on Orange Line Metro Train Lahore. He, however, said Peshawar Metro Bus project will be completed at a cost of 67 billion rupees, and the government will not have to provide any subsidy on it. He said the buses have been purchased instead of hired on rent.

The Information Minister said the dead capital of the government buildings constructed on 34460 Kanal land will be better used for commercial purposes. He said the government has started austerity drive keeping in view the economic condition of the country. He said 2.3 billion rupees were spent by the Prime Minister Office, 2.9 billion rupees by Punjab Chief Minister Office, and 1.4 billion rupees were spent by Punjab Governor House during the last five years. He told that the Dams Fund would be exempted from income tax and withholding tax.

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Sixth victim of Karachi food poisoning passes away



Seven injured as passenger bus overturns in Jhelum

KARACHI: A sixth victim of Karachi food poisoning incident died here at the Aga Khan University Hospital, a day after five members of her family died on Friday.

Bina Badruddin, 27, died at 5am on Saturday after being diagnosed with food poisoning early Friday. Her five nieces and nephews died yesterday.

Bina was on the ventilator after being rushed to the hospital by her brother Faisal.

The family hailed from Balochistan’s Pishin and had arrived in Karachi Thursday night. The family arrived in Karachi at around 11pm. On the way, they ate food at a street-side restaurant in Khuzdar at around 2pm and when they got to Karachi they ordered biryani from a restaurant in Saddar at around 11:30pm. The police say they ate at the Naubahar restaurant in Saddar, which is near the passport office.

The children have been identified as one-and-a-half-year-old Abdul Ali, four-year-old Aziz Faisal, six-year-old Aliya, seven-year-old Tauheed and nine-year-old Salwa.



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12th 5-years plan envisages 5.4% growth 



ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning Development and Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar has said that the 12th Five Year Plan envisaged an average growth of GDP at 5.4 percent and the expected outlay of the Plan would be Rs 11.750 trillion including Rs 1 trillion involving innovative financing through a public-private partnership.
He said the plan extensively covered growth, macro stability, expand agriculture production, galvanize agro-business potential, industry and export competitiveness, human resource development, integrated energy planning, infrastructure development, social safety nets, poverty reduction, achieving SDGs and administrative reforms along-with focus on less developed areas, climate change and environment.
The Minister was chairing a briefing to Economic Advisory Council on draft 12th Five Year Plan here on Friday.
Advisor to PM on Commerce & Industry Abdul Razzak Dawood, members Economic Advisory Council, Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, Secretary BISP Ali Raza Bhutta, Chief Economist Ejaz Wasti, Members Planning Commission and senior officials of all sections of the ministry were present during the briefing.
Makhdum Khusro said that it has been decided to conduct quarterly reviews of the plan at the Ministry and bi-annual reviews will be made by the Prime Minister for its effective implementation in achieving all the set targets.
He stated that priority will be given to projects related to infrastructure development, transport, housing, communication, energy, and water sector.
The Minister said that development strategy also entails boosting the country’s exports as well as envisages a mechanism to monitor the progress of ongoing projects.
He added that the Plan aims at improving the productivity of all sectors of the economy. He said that the Government was committed to ensuring timely completion of all ongoing projects without any cost escalation.
Makhdum Khusro appreciated the macroeconomic framework prepared by the Planning Commission.
Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan said that Plan document has been prepared through an extensive consultative process involving dialogue with stakeholders, formal consultation with the members of different working groups formulated for different sectors.
So far, more than thirty sessions have been held with stakeholders for preparing the draft of the next Plan. He apprised that after taking the inputs and suggestions from the members of the Economic Advisory Council, the Plan will be placed before the National Economic Council for consideration and approval.


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India diverting attention from Spy’s case?



ISLAMABAD: Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda has termed the Indian threat to stop the flow of water from eastern rivers to Pakistan a “failed attempt”, just like the Pulwama incident, to divert attention from its failure in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in International Court of Justice (ICJ).
In his reaction over India’s threat to stop Pakistan’s water, he said India could not blame Pakistan for its failure in the International Court of Justice to prove spy Kulbhushan innocent. As per Indus Water Treaty, India could not stop Pakistan’s water, he added, says a press statement here on Friday.
Describing the threat hilarious and void, he said the Indian government was preparing the ground to seek public support in next election by hurling allegation against Pakistan. “India must keep it in mind that it is a New Pakistan,” Vawda said adding that valiant Armed Forces of Pakistan would give a befitting response if India launched any misadventure. He said India would get nothing from its war hysteria except embarrassment among the comity of the nations.


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