ISLAMABAD, Dec 24 (APP):Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday said the Federal Cabinet had approved the formation of Local Government Commission for the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), which would be headed by Member of the National Assembly Ali Nawaz Awan.

The Local Government Commission would work to keep the capital city clean, maintain its healthy environment and remove garbage, besides monitoring and assessing the situation of municipal services, she said Flanked by Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Services Dr Zafar Mirza, she was addressing a press conference to share the details of decisions taken by the cabinet, which met here with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.

Dr Zafar said the cabinet had approved decrease in the prices of 89 essential and life-saving medicines under its 2018 Medicine Pricing Policy with immediate effect.

He said many of the medicines were used in treating heart diseases and blood pressure. Those medicines were part of the essential medicine list under which prices had to be decreased by 10 percent for three years. The government had to increase the medicines’ prices by 15 percent due to devaluation of the dollar last year, he added.

He said the prime minister instructed to review the Medicine Pricing Policy within two months to facilitate the general public. The ministry was in the last stages of formulating a National Medicine Policy for the pharmaceutical sector, which would be announced in the coming weeks, he added.

Dr Firdous said the cabinet was taking practical steps to provide relief to the needy and deserving people.

She said the cabinet ratified the decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) taken during its meeting held on December 12, 2019.

The special assistant said Hamid Haroon of the Military Lands and Cantonment Boards was appointed senior member Federal Land Commission in grade 22. Similarly, Farrukh Iqbal was appointed Chief Executive Officer and President of First Women Bank, and Irfan Bukhari Chief Executive Officer Exim Bank of Pakistan, she added.

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The cabinet sent the issue of sale of shares of House Building Finance Corporation to the ECC and decided to take up the issue after the ECC decision, she added.

Dr Firdous said the cabinet formed a sub-committee to consider the names for members for Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which would be finalized in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.

Dr Tauqeer Ahmed, Chief Finance and Accounts Officer, and Muhammad Ayub, Director Legal of Ministry of Information Technology, were appointed members of Board of Trustees Pakistan Telecommunication Employment Trust.

She said the cabinet also approved the reorganization of Executive Committee of Pakistan Sports Board and amendment in its laws. It also approved 11 new members for the committee.

The special assistant said the cabinet was told that about 70,992 of the people living along the Line of Control (LoC) came in the direct range of firing across the border from India.
The cabinet, she said, approved a special package of Rs 670 million for 13,498 families living on the LoC under the Ehsaas Programme. A ration scheme would be introduced while every married women in those families would be given Rs 5,000 per month.

The package would be reassessed and would be brought before the cabinet to ascertain exact number of beneficiaries, she added.

The cabinet also approved appointment of Rear Admiral Zakaur Rehman as General Manager of the Karachi Port Trust and that of Talha Ali Khan as Executive Director Lok Virsa for two years.

The re-organization of National Power Parks Management Board was approved.

The cabinet allowed a one-time import of finger markers from India for the anti-polio campaign. The World Health Organization (WHO), which has funded the anti-polio campaign, had endorsed the finger markers.

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The cabinet also approved names of five experts for the Regulation Board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP).

Dr Sania Nishtar briefed the cabinet about the Ehsaas Programme and the introduction of automation and technology to minimize the role of humans in updating the list of beneficiaries, previously prepared through a survey.

Dr Firdous said the cabinet also approved reforms in the laws related to sales and income taxes, and customs duties. The prime minister said tax reforms should be done in a way that it could help create jobs and a conducive environment for the businessmen, and reduce poverty.

She said the cabinet on the recommendation of its sub-committee unanimously decided not to remove the name of Maryam Nawaz from the Exit Control List (ECL). However, it excluded eight other names and included four new names in the list maintained by the Ministry of Interior.

To a question, Dr Firdous said the Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman told the cabinet that the Christian community was given salaries before the festival of Christmas.
It also rejected the proposal to increase the prices of medicines, she added.

The cabinet was informed that the proposed levy of taxes of Rs 170 billion was not an increase in taxes but would be done through procedural changes in tax laws, she added.

To another question, she said the government’s legal team was still holding consultation on the issue of Judge Waqar Seth.

To another query, she said Rana Sanaullah of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was given bail by the Lahore High Court in a case filed by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF).

She said the trial of Rana Sanaullah could not be started because of delay due to different reasons and now the hearing of the case would be held on January 4, when the ANF would give evidence of possessing heroin against him.