PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for global coordinated efforts to address terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Addressing the Shnaghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) through video link on Tuesday, the Prime Minister said, “We must also continue to steadfastly oppose extremist and xenophobic tendencies – including racist ideologies inspired by neo-Nazis – and Islamophobia.”
Highlighting the country’s role in the council’s multi-sectoral agenda for regional peace and security, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan has been at the forefront of the struggle against terrorism for a long time.
On freedom of speech, the PM said, “Deliberately insulting religion and religious beliefs provokes hatred, leading to further polarization and fragmentation of humanity.” He maintained that that was wrong to use terrorism related issues as a political tools against a community, race or party.
The Prime Minister called upon other nations to condemn India’s illegal and unilateral actions in occupied Kashmir which can disrupt regional and global peace. He said that Pakistan supports the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution to create an “environment of stability and prosperity”.
Referring to the Afghan peace process, Imran once again warned of spoilers to the initiative. “We must also remain mindful of the challenges ahead, especially the role of the spoilers within and outside who do not want peace and stability to return to Afghanistan.”
He reiterated that there is no military solution to the Afghan problem. He said reduction in violence is essential in maintaining peace in Afghanistan. He said the return of Afghan refugees with dignity should be an essential part of Afghanistan peace negotiations.
The Prime Minister called for global efforts to combat adverse impacts of the coronavirus pandemic and to fight with its emerging second wave. He said that Pakistan in coordination with China is working to develop a vaccine for the virus.
The Prime Minister said Pakistan supports Chinese efforts to contain the pandemic in providing protection equipment to the deserving nations.
He said Pakistan welcomes the initiative of G-20 to provide debt relief to poor economies. He said that Pakistan believes in the SCO’s objectives related to various global and regional matters.
He also underscored that Pakistan stands with the SCO’s commitment towards climate change, noting that the South-Asian country has been “mitigating the adverse effects of climate change” through different initiatives.
Imran Khan was invited to attend the SCO-CHS by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who chaired the online meeting. Leaders from all eight SCO member states and four observer states were in attendance, together with the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Secretary-General of SCO Rashid Alimov.
Pakistan has been an active member of the SCO-CHS since 2017. Other member countries include China, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Meanwhile, The federal cabinet has approved wheat support price at the rate of Rs1,650 per 40 kilograms.
This was stated by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Syed Shibli Faraz, while briefing media persons here on Tuesday about decisions taken in the cabinet meeting, which met with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.
He said the support price will enable common people to buy flour at affordable rates as well as farmers to get the best price of their crop.
The minister said the cabinet also discussed that government subsidies should reach the deserving people, especially the poor and the middle class. He said that the Prime Minister’s special assistant on finance has been tasked to evolve a comprehensive strategy to rationalize subsidies of worth four trillion rupees so that deserving families can be benefited to the maximum. He said Ehsaas and other databases will be used in this regard.
He said that the federal cabinet was briefed by SAPM on Revenue Dr Waqar Masood over the subsidies and grants provided to different sectors. Masood gave a comparison between revenue, expenditure, subsidies, and grants during the past 13 years and shared that the loan repayments have caused expenditures to go beyond the revenue.
The SAPM briefed that subsidies and grants are being provided to energy, agriculture, and other sectors, which has caused an extraordinary burden on the national exchequer. “The subsidies and grants comprise 4.5 percent of the national GDP,” he said and presented suggestions on targeted subsidies including using the Ehsaas database for giving subsidy to the poor segments.
Faraz said in view of resurgence of Covid-19 pandemic, the cabinet also called for imposing strict restrictions on mass activities, except business and wealth creation, to prevent loss of precious human lives and stalling economic activities in the country.
He said that Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, who heads the NCOC forum, briefed the cabinet meeting over the current Covid-19 situation and said that an alarming increase in the virus numbers is being witnessed.
The cabinet also approved the formation of a digital cooperation organization, an initiative of Saudi Arabia. – TLTP