Cabinet approves agreements between Pak, S. Arabia: Fawad

October 4, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry while briefing the media after the cabinet meeting said, “The cabinet approved converting the Prime Minister House into a high-level university.”

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad after a meeting of the federal cabinet, Federal Minister for Information said that Saudi Arabia is going to do huge investment in Pakistan.

“The cabinet gave approval for the agreements discussed between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia during a visit of the Kingdom’s delegation last week.”

Investment from Saudi Arabia will bring prosperity to the country, adding that Pakistan enjoys brotherly relations with Saudi Arabia, said Fawad

an approval has been accorded for the construction of an oil refinery in Gwadar, he added.

The information minister elaborated, “Saudi Arabia will make an investment of Rs30 billion in Pakistan pertaining to the discovery of oil and gas.”

Federal Minister said that China is Pakistan’s close friend and a strategic partner.

To this, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar added saying, “Saudi Arabia is interested in Gwadar and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and has expressed the desire to immediately invest in an oil refinery.” “It has been agreed that it will be a government to government (G2G) agreement,” Sarwar further added. “Saudi Arabia’s minister of energy will visit Islamabad next month,” he further said while adding that the volume and other details are yet to be decided.

“At the time of the agreements, provincial governments will also be taken into confidence,” the petroleum minister assured.

Talking about Khursheed Shah and Mushahidullah Khan, the minister said that he has no personal enmity with both the leaders but one should see what they have done with PIA and Radio Pakistan. People were appointed out of turn during the tenure of last government, said Fawad.

He announced that the government had decided to remove the officials “illegally appointed” by former finance minister Ishaq Dar from service.

Chaudhry said that it had been decided to remove several high-level officials in banks and government departments as according to a Supreme Court decision, only the cabinet could appoint directors and heads of departments. This role had been unlawfully delegated to Dar by the previous PML-N government, the minister said.

The officials dismissed from their posts include Saeed Ahmed, the president of National Bank of Pakistan; Tahira Raza, the president of First Women Bank; Syed Talat Mehmood, the president of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited; and Ehsanul Haq Khan, the president of SME Bank.

In addition, four regulators appointed during the previous government’s tenure have also been removed including: Jameel Ahmed, the deputy governor of State Bank; Shamsul Hassan, the deputy governor of State Bank; M.S Vadiya Khalil, the chairperson of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP); Dr Mohammad Saleem of CCP; and Shahzad Ansar of CCP. Speaking about the other points discussed during the meeting, Chaudhry said, “The cabinet approved converting the Prime Minister House into a high-level research university.”

Speaking at the auction of PM House luxury vehicles as part of the premier’s austerity drive, Chauhdry said, “Rs180 million were raised from the sale of 62 cars and Rs2.3 million were raised through the auction of buffaloes.”

“There were 528 staff members at the PM House but only five are now remaining,” he added. “None of them are unemployed and are part of a surplus pool and will be employed in different departments,” he clarified.

Chaudhry further said that they have found details regarding 2,067 official properties across the country.

“A committee has been formed under the supervision of Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak to draft a plan of action regarding the appropriate use of these properties.” Further, members of the cabinet approved a summary to establish the Centre of Excellence in collaboration with Turkey in addition to an agreement of bilateral cooperation for technical training between Pakistan and Japan.

The cabinet also ratified a summary for the appointment of Major General Arif as the director-general of the Anti-Narcotics Force, sources added.

In the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan was briefed on the task force of the five million housing project. The premier is expected to inaugurate the housing project in the mid of October, sources said.

Earlier the day, the cabinet approved appointments of new members in the Ministry of Finance, the fiscal and monetary policy boards, sources said, adding that the latter will be able to benefit from services of foreign-based Pakistani experts.

During the meeting, members of the cabinet agreed on entering a partnership agreement pertaining to oil refineries in Gwadar with Saudi Arabia, sources said.

Further, members of the cabinet approved a summary to establish the Centre of Excellence in collaboration with Turkey in addition to an agreement of bilateral cooperation for technical training between Pakistan and Japan.

The cabinet also ratified a summary for the appointment of Major General Arif as the director-general of the Anti-Narcotics Force, sources added. In the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan was briefed on the task force of the five million housing project. The premier is expected to inaugurate the housing project in the mid of October, sources said. INP