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Cross-border terror attacks will not be tolerated any more, declares PM Shehbaz

Proposes joint strategy with Afghanistan to defeat scourge of terrorism: Pakistan to seek another IMF package: Urges CJP to expedite 2,400 tax cases pending in courts: Vows zero tolerance to electricity and gas pilferage: PM, cabinet members forego salaries and perks

By News Desk

March 20, 2024 01:55 PM


TV grab shows PM Shehbaz Sharif addressing federal cabinet meeting.

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Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has categorically stated that Pakistan will not tolerate any kind of terrorist attacks from across the border any more, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Chairing the federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday, Prime Minister Shehbaz made it crystal clear that the security of the geographical frontiers of Pakistan are a redline.

Shehbaz said Pakistan desires to have cordial relations with the neighbouring fraternal country to promote trade and economic relations, but it is not acceptable that the land of the neighbouring country is used for terrorism.

The prime minister proposed the formulation of a joint strategy with the sincerity of purpose to defeat the scourge of terrorism, saying collective efforts against terrorism will help establish peace in the region and address other issues such as poverty.

Shehbaz expressed the confidence that the neighbouring country (Afghanistan) will seriously consider his proposal and work with Pakistan to make the region abode of peace. 

Highlighting the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in the war on terrorism, Shehbaz reaffirmed the commitment to wipe out the menace of terrorism as was done previously. He paid glowing tributes to the sacrifices of the security forces and their families.

Another IMF package

Turning to the economic situation, Prime Minister Shehbaz said the country is compelled to secure another IMF package. He however affirmed the commitment to revive the economy and help it stand on its own feet. “We have taken a conscious decision to minimize borrowing and gradually rid the country of loans,” he added.

Shehbaz an enabling environment will be created to attract investments across various sectors including agriculture, industries, Information Technology and mines and minerals.  He said Special Investment Facilitation Council is serving as a robust platform to facilitate investment in the country.

2,400 tax cases

Alluding to the pending tax cases worth 2,400 rupees, the premier appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to direct the courts to dispose of these cases at the earliest.

Shehbaz Sharif also expressed the resolve to enhance the tax base and bring the potential sectors into the tax net. He said the FBR will be completely digitalized and for this purpose, the process of hiring consultants will be completed by the third or fourth week of the next month.

He said the digitalization process will be supervised to ensure its early completion.  He said the services of honest and dedicated officers in the FBR will be duly recognized.

Shehbaz said a committee has also been established to cut the expenditures of the government, assuring that its recommendations will be fully implemented.

He said there will be zero tolerance to electricity and gas pilferage.

He emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts amongst the federal and provincial governments to steer the country out of multifaceted challenges.

Shehbaz expressed the confidence that the cabinet will live up to the trust of the masses in terms of its performance and responsibility.

Salaries, perks forego

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his federal cabinet members have decided to forego their salaries and perks voluntarily in the context of promoting austerity at the government level.

According to the 24News HD TV channel, this decision was taken at the federal cabinet meeting presided over by PM Shahbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Minister briefs cabinet on IMF accord

In the meeting, Federal Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb gave a detailed briefing to the Cabinet on the Staff Level Agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The finance minister gave a briefing to the cabinet that the agreement with the IMF will improve the country's economy and investors' confidence is expected to increase further.

Approval of PIA Holding Company

The Cabinet approved the creation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Holding Company as a major step towards the privatization of the national airline.

The federal cabinet also paid homage to the martyrs of the Mir Ali terrorist attack and recited Fateha for them. The cabinet vowed to completely eradicate terrorism from the country.

Staff Level Agreement with IMF

It is worthy to mention here that under the Staff Level Agreement with the IMF, Pakistan would receive the last tranche of $1.1 billion next month after which a standby arrangement worth $3 billion would be over.

Under the programme, the tax base will be broadened and tax ratio will be enhanced on the sectors paying less. And in order to bring inflation to a set target, dollar’s market rate would be fixed.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Pakistan had already received $1.9 billion from the international money-lending organization in two instalments.  

The IMF stated that the agreement recognized the strong programme implementation by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the caretaker government in recent months, as well as the new government’s intentions for ongoing policy and reform efforts to move Pakistan from stabilization to a strong and sustainable recovery.

In his comments, IMF Pakistan Mission Chief Nathan Porter said Pakistan’s economic and financial position had improved in the months since the first review, with growth and confidence continuing to recover on the back of prudent policy management and the resumption of inflows from multilateral and bilateral partners.

Pakistan has expressed the desire for a new loan programme for which talks will be held next month.

Privatization of PIA

Worthy to mention here too that PM Shehbaz Sharif has already directed the Privatization Ministry to present the final schedule for the implementation of the privatization of PIA.

In a high-level meeting on March 07, the PM emphasized ensuring transparency at all stages in the privatization process of the National Airline and clarified that laziness and carelessness will not be tolerated in this regard.

The progress of the privatization of PIA so far and the upcoming steps in this regard were reviewed in the meeting.

Reporter: Awais Kiyani

 


News Desk


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