ECL list sent to review committee

Islamabad: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said that the list containing the names of 172 individuals placed on Exit Control List (ECL) in fake accounts case will be sent to a review committee, working under Ministry of Interior. Addressing a press conference in Islamabad after cabinet meeting, Fawad said that the Supreme Court has ordered the federal government to review its decision which was taken on the recommendation of a joint investigation team (JIT) probing the case. “The list will be reviewed as per the court orders,” he asserted. The decision of adding or excluding names in the list will be taken according to the recommendations of the Committee which will brief the cabinet next week, added the minister. Fawad maintained that the Division will monitor and collect data on prices of items of daily use in 76 markets and 40 cities and will submit its report to federal cabinet each week. He said that the cabinet also decided to expedite the privatization of five units including Haveli Bahadur Shah, Lakhra Coal Mine, Services Hotel Lahore, divestment of government shares in petroleum companies and K-Electric. “The cabinet has also established a committee of Land Bank headed by Defense Minister Pervez Khattak. It will identify 150 prime properties for use in various public sector projects and submit its report to the cabinet in its next meeting. The Minister said 9442 kanals of unused land has been identified at the federal level, 56000 kanal in Punjab and 5258 kanal in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa so far,” he said. The minister said cabinet also accorded approval to three additional posts of judges in Islamabad High Court. It will increase the number of judges from 6 to nine, in addition to Chief Justice. He articulated that a Poverty Alleviation Coordination Council has been established that will work under Dr. Sania Nishtar. It has been tasked to coordinate the activities of various institutions at federal and provincial level in poverty alleviation, Fawad said. The minister pronounced that additional customs duty for offshore exploration companies in order to create a more favorable environment for foreign investment into the country. He said the PTI government aims to levy tax on income, and not on the companies doing investment. On Karachi, the Information Minister said that the city is an economic hub of the country and people of the city have entrusted the policies of the incumbent government by voting it. He said a high powered Committee has been constituted for the development of the metropolis. Fawad uttered the cabinet approved a sum of Rs2.8 billion for the construction of FC Headquarters in South and North zones of Balochistan. The Minister said the export duty on jaggery has been brought down to 2.5 percent to enhance local production and export of the commodity. He said an amount of 123 million euro as loan has been approved for Bus Rapid Transport in Peshawar. Prime Minister Imran Khan presided over the meeting of federal cabinet to review a 20-point agenda including placing names of 172 ‘influential’ people on the ECL. Since 2006, AFD has been working with Pakistan to develop renewable energies and energy efficiency, as the country has been undergoing a major crisis in energy sector.The agenda also included the issue of substandard stations and formation of a high-level committee for the transformation of Karachi. The Ministry of States and Frontier Regions have shared information with the cabinet members ahead of approval of funds for rehabilitation of the tribal areas. Regarding allotment of 32-Kanal land to the Intelligence Bureau by the Capital Development Authority (CDA), the first installment has been approved by the meeting. A memorandum of understanding has been signed concerning the Agriculture sector of Pakistan. Lastly, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) has gotten an approval for an agreement with Azerbaijan over labor force.