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Cabinet decides to improve political atmosphere

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Thursday decided to give full opportunity to the Pakistan Tehreek i Insaf (PTI) to express its views in parliament.

The cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also decided to meet the PTI’s legitimate demands to improve the political environment in the country.

The cabinet, after discussing a 23-point agenda, approved most of the summaries. It also discussed proposed merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Most of the agenda items pertained to cooperation in various areas between Pakistan and other countries.
Merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa discussed

Sources said the prime minister took more than an hour for a political discussion with his cabinet colleagues. Officials of different ministries and government departments were not allowed to attend this discussion.

Talking to his cabinet colleagues, Mr Sharif said that all political issues should be tackled and resolved politically so that democracy could be strengthened in the country.

Against the backdrop of pandemonium that took place in the National Assembly on Wednesday, the meeting decided that senior leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz would come forward to make the environment in parliament friendly and conducive for legislation.

It also decided that the treasury benches would take on board the opposition parties on all important issues.

Some cabinet members characterised the PTI’s decision to end its boycott of the National Assembly as a positive move and said the ruling party should also play a positive role for strengthening the democratic system.

The cabinet’s decision about political reconciliation was reflected in the Thursday session of the National Assembly where PTI and other opposition parties were given due opportunity to raise any issue, including Panamagate and the controversial speech made by Mr Sharif on the floor of the house on May 16.
Fata reforms

The meeting discussed in detail the merger of Fata with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as proposed by a high-level committee tasked with suggesting reforms for Fata.

“It is a defining moment that the present government has decided to change a 70-year-old system in Fata and bring its people into the mainstream,” State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said at a press conference at the Prime Minister Office.

Addressing the press conference, Minister for States and Frontier Regions retired Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch said the tribal areas were proposed to be merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in phases spread over five years.

He said a ten-year development plan had been chalked out for Fata for which 3 per cent of the provincial divisible pool (about Rs110 billion) would be set aside.

As this issue was directly related to the provinces it would be on the agenda of meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI), to be held on Friday (today), the minister said.

Even though two political parties namely the Jamiat Ulema i Islam Fazl and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party had expressed concerns over reforms in Fata, they too were not opposed to a merger of Fata and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mr Baloch said.

In response to a question, he said that public representatives of Fata would get an opportunity to become members of the province’s legislature in 2018. “A total of 19 parliamentarians hailing from Fata eight senators and 11 members of the National Assembly have endorsed proposed merger of Fata with KP,” he said.

Some other decisions taken at the cabinet meeting pertained to establishment of a permanent secretariat of the CCI, repatriation of Afghan refugees, negotiations with China on disaster management, cooperation with Cuba for disaster risk management, defence cooperation with Myanmar, cooperation in the field of tourism with Algeria, cooperation with Kuwait for petroleum exploration in Pakistan, and amendments in the gas sales and purchase agreement with Iran for the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

courtesy : dawn news

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