ISLAMABAD, Jan 2 (APP):The members of federal cabinet on Wednesday directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and management of the  Islamabad International Airport to improve operations and facilities to the passengers, especially overseas Pakistanis at the newly constructed airport.
	A group of cabinet members comprising ministers and advisers took an extensive briefing from the officials of CAA and airport management here during a visit to the airport to know first hand about the available facilities and level of operations.
	The members visited the airport, which opened for air traffic six months back, on the directive of Prime Minister Imran Khan who ordered that better facilities should be made available to the passengers.
	Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said Pakistanis arriving from abroad should be given the option to get their mobile phones registered at district offices of customs and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
	The cabinet members asked the officials to furnish details about the reasons for escalation of cost of airport construction to Rs 105 billion and for its sub-standard construction.
	The members noted that the National Accountability Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency had investigated the matter, the issue of cost escalation came up in various parliamentary committees and even persons were nominated in first information reports.
	Minister for Privatization and Aviation Muhammad Mian Soomro stressed that different organizations, including Customs, Anti Narcotics Force and Airport Security Force should enhance coordination and meet regularly to sort out internal problems.
	Minister for Health Services Aamer Mehmood Kiani said the 40-bed trauma center at the airport should be made fully functional and all medical facilities should be provided to the travelers.
	Minister for Petroleum and National Resources Ghulam Sarwar said citizens whose land was acquired for the construction of two dams to supply water to the airport, should be paid compensation if the payment was still not made.
	He asked the officials to take a decision whether they wanted to acquire more land for a third runway so that residents in the area that fall in his constituency, could get payment in time and would not have to wait for years.
	Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi said the foreigners coming to Pakistan should get a positive message about the country on arrival and for this purpose young interns from universities should be hired so that they welcome and facilitate the foreigners. Face recognition and extra security features should be added to the cameras installed at the airport to detect any illegal activity or carrying of arms.
	Adviser to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Amin Aslam said the government’s message of Clean and Green Pakistan should be promoted on boards displayed at the airport.
	Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Zulfikar Bukhari said extra counters should be set up to ease immigration procedures for people, especially the Pakistani diaspora.
	The cabinet members urged the officials to ensure cleanliness at the airport premises and checking of passengers on the way to airport should not be more than necessary.
	The aviation officials informed the committee about staff shortages and other issues that were hampering smooth functioning of the airport and creating inconvenience for the passengers, and suggested solutions.
	They said instead of the present open sky policy, fair sky policy would be introduced in consultation with stakeholders to protect interests of the national flag carrier and local airlines.
	Muhammad Mian Soomro directed that the committee should be presented a report in two weeks to inform about the steps taken for improvement of facilities and operations. The committee would hold its next meeting on January 17 to review progress.