Holding public meetings amidst spike in COVID-19 deaths tantamount to playing with people's lives: PM
ISLAMABAD: December 01 - Prime Minster Imran Khan chairing a meeting of the Federal Cabinet. APP

ISLAMABAD, Dec 1 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that holding public meetings amidst spike in deaths due to COVID-19 in the country was tantamount to playing with the lives of people.

“As the number of single-day deaths due to COVID in the country has reached 67 on Monday, the highest so far, holding of public meetings in such a situation is tantamount to playing with the lives of people,” he said.

Presiding over the meeting of federal cabinet here the prime minister referred to the current situation of coronavirus and said that the country at this moment required serious decisions and attitudes.

He further said that despite the decision of Islamabad High Court (IHC) against public meetings, holding of public gatherings was also a violation of the court orders.

The prime minister made it clear that as health workers and hospitals were under severe pressure due to coronavirus, collective efforts were needed to check the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The cabinet was briefed in detail about the two mega projects including the Ravi Riverfront Urban Development in Lahore and Bundle Island in Karachi initiated by the present government.

The meeting was told that under the Master Plan of environment-friendly Ravi Riverfront Urban Development Project, launched on August 7, 2020, three barrages and seven water treatment plants would be established to meet the requirements of water.

The project, which would be completed with private sector partnership and without the provision of any government loan or funding, was expected to attract the investment of billions of dollars. Plantation of 10 million trees was also part of the project, it was told.

About the Bundle Island project, the cabinet was told that the project had been designed by keeping in view the international standards.

The smart, green and pollution-free Bundle Island project covering 12,000 acres was expected to attract US$ 50 billion of investment. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the foreign investment of US$ 1.3 billion has already been signed, it was told.

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The prime minister said that both the projects were very important to curbing environmental pollution, earning precious foreign exchange and providing employment to people.

He said that the Bundle Island project would help protect mangroves and check water pollution.

The prime minister further said that the project besides creating job opportunities for the people of Sindh will also provide better source of earning to fishermen. Overseas Pakistanis were keen to invest in the two projects, he added.

The cabinet granted its approval to reduce price of Remdesivir 100mg injection at Rs 5,680 from Rs9,244 which had proved effective in treatment of coronavirus.

On the occasion, the prime minister directed for timely purchase and ensuring availability of coronavirus vaccine.

The cabinet granted its approval to Aviation Division for renewal of regular public transport license of AirSial private limited.

It also granted approval to ministry of defence for signing of cooperation protocol between Pakistan Navy Engineering College and Yildiz Technical University of Turkey.

The cabinet approved appointments of Muhammad Naeem Akhtar as chief executive officer of the Postal Life Insurance Company and Brigadier (retd) Muhammad Tahir Ahmed Khan as executive director Frequency Evaluation Board.

The meeting also constituted a six-member committee comprising members of the cabinet over the issue of handing over building of Islamabad Metropolitan Club to Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training and establishment of National College of Arts, Islamabad Campus in that building.

The prime minister also directed for submission of recommendations in the next meeting of cabinet regarding public use of Rs 2 billion worth building in F-9 park.

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The cabinet approved extension in service of executive director of National Institute of Health whereas, it granted its approval for cancelling of services of current chairman of Export Processing Zones Authority Shafqut-ur-Rehman Ranjha.

The cabinet also constituted a committee for submission of proposals and recommendations over effective use of properties owned by Jammu and Kashmir inside Pakistan.

The prime minister directed for formulation of such proposals which could ensure maximum benefits of these properties.

He also directed for retrieval of government owned expensive lands worth billions of rupees.

The cabinet ratified decisions taken by Economic Coordination Committee taken in its meeting of November 20, 2020.

The prime minister, on the occasion, made it clear that all decisions should be based upon merit because decisions lacking merits caused damage to public.

He further said that uninterrupted supply of gas to domestic consumers and export related industries should be ensured.

He said that a mechanism should be framed which could provide whole year’s advance information to industries about the gas supply.

The cabinet also ratified decisions of cabinet committee on privatization taken during its meeting of November 16, 2020, and decisions taken by committee on energy in a meeting held on November 26, 2020 and that of cabinet committee on legislation which were taken during its meeting held on November 26, 2020.

The prime minister, addressing the meeting, said that there should be no laxity in law for the culprits involved in abhorrible crime of Zina-bil-jabar.

He underlined the need for severe punishment so that heart wrenching rape incidents occurring with women and children could be eradicated.

The cabinet also approved appointment of experts as board of governors under Federal Medical Teaching Institute Ordinance 2020. These experts included representatives from different fields like medicine, economics, civil society, education, business and philanthropists.