ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday approved a policy pertaining to the repatriation of Afghan refugees and barred entry into the country for those Afghans who do not have valid visas.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presided over a meeting of the cabinet during which the refugee repatriation and management policy was approved. The policy calls for strict implementation of Pakistan’s immigration laws along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and ensuring that those without visas are not allowed entry into the country.
The policy also permits an extension in the stay of registered refugees in the country till December 31, 2017.
“The interior ministry has been directed to expedite the process of registering refugees, which is already underway,” Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Maryam Aurangzeb said during a media briefing after the cabinet meeting.
During the meeting it was also decided that 50 bunkers will be built along the Working Boundary to provide refuge to villagers living in the area during incidents of cross-border firing between India and Pakistan.
The meeting also agreed that the families of those killed in such incidents will be given Rs0.5 million as compensation. Families of those injured in fire exchanges will be given one lakh fifty thousand in compensation.
The Federal Cabinet also discussed Electoral Reforms, and gave its nod for presentation in the Parliament next month for enactment after fine tuning.
Minister for Law Zahid Hamid and Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said recommendations for electoral reforms have been prepared with consensus by the Parliamentary Committee.
The Law Minister said the Sub-Committee of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms would mull over required constitutional amendments before presentation of the reforms to the Parliament for necessary legislation.
Giving details, he said the recommendations envisage total financial, administrative and functional autonomy for the Election Commission of Pakistan. The Commission would be empowered to take disciplinary action against officials deputed from other departments and ministries for election purpose.
The Commission would be required to prepare a comprehensive action plan for polls six months ahead of elections to seek input and objections from the political parties and candidates. A formal complaint system would be introduced to lodge complaints about malpractices before elections.
Votes would be counted and result compiled at the polling station and Form-14 containing results would be transmitted to the Returning Officer and the Election Commission through a mobile application to ensure prompt transmission of results.
In case victory margin is less than five percent or ten thousand votes then the losing candidate can demand recounting there and then and recounting would be mandatory.
A uniform system of printing of ballot papers would be introduced. Under the reforms package, name of a citizen would be automatically registered as a voter once he is issued a computerized national identity card.
Special measures would be undertaken to encourage enlistment of women voters in case there is difference of more than ten percent in the number of male and female votes.
Political parties would be required to allot five percent tickets to women candidates, he said.
The reforms envisage delimitation of constituencies every ten year. Delimitation would be done after census but if census is delayed then electoral rolls would form basis for delimitation.
There is also a proposal to enforce a criteria for registration of political parties with the ECP. Caretaker Government would not have powers to make long term decisions or policies. He pointed out that there is no provision for caretaker governments in India or Bangladesh.
Replying to questions, the Minister of State for Information said 46 modern hospitals would be established in different parts of the country.
The cabinet approved a 30 point agenda including negotiations of a draft agreement between Russia and Pakistan for the training of military personnel.