The Prime Minister wants legislation to address the issue of missing persons
Enforce laws to control ordered sexual violence
The minister says Pakistanis abroad will vote in the next election
ISLAMABAD: Cabinet on Wednesday granted Rs 21 billion relief to federal secretariat staff by approving a 25 per cent pay rise, calling on provinces to end pay inequality between their civil servants and those of the Center.
The cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, also expressed concern over the long-standing issue of missing persons and directed interested authorities to make swift legislation in parliament to ensure that no missing persons were found. in the current government.
Prime Minister Khan expressed his dissatisfaction with the growing cases of sexual violence against women and children and called for the recently enacted laws to be implemented effectively.
The Cabinet also discussed the upcoming Senate polls scheduled for March 3rd.
He credited the current government with taking serious steps to close the door on the equestrian trade by promulgating an ordinance to hold Senate elections through open voting.
The Cabinet approved the 25pc increase in the salaries of secretariat staff (inequality assistance) following their recent protest outside the House of Parliament.
Speaking at a news conference after the cabinet meeting, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said the government had chosen to increase the base salary of its employees.
There are some basic structural issues; some clauses of the 18th amendment should also be considered. Government employees in provincial departments receive higher pay and those in federal institutions receive lower pay. As a result, they (federal employees) want to go to the provinces while those in the provinces do not want to join here (in Islamabad), he added.
A source told Dawn that many cabinet members opposed the decision to increase the federal secretariat salaries by 25 pieces.
They were of the opinion that if the government is put under pressure once and raises salaries in such a way, another group will rise tomorrow with a similar demand, the source added.
The meeting was informed that the government will bear an additional burden of Rs21 billion per year by making a 25pc increase in the basic salaries of employees from grades 1 to 19.
Another source said Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his concern over the issue of missing persons and informed the cabinet that several intelligence agencies requested changes to specific laws in order to address the issue effectively.
In this, Justice Minister Farogh Naseem expressed his dissatisfaction. However, Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari informed the Prime Minister that a bill proposed to stop the disappearance of people had been standing by the law ministry for more than two years but nothing was being done about it.
The Prime Minister intervened and asked all interested actors to sit down together and proposed a consensual bill on the necessary changes in the relevant laws.
Prime Minister Imran Khan instructed the law minister to immediately reactivate the bill on the issue of missing persons as now, after the drastic decline of terrorist acts, the issue needs to be rectified, said Shibli Faraz.
He said the issue was raised in the cabinet by Dr Mazari, who gave a full perspective on the proposed legislation.
The Prime Minister recalled that he himself had visited such seats for missing persons to show solidarity with them. The minister noted that almost every country faced security issues but had to have a mechanism like three months, six months or nine months, he added.
Asked about the appointment of Federal Minister Faisal Vawda, who was facing a disqualification case in the Election Commission, the minister said the issue was still to be decided but the party leadership decided to give him representation in the Senate.
During the cabinet meeting, the prime minister noted that after the 1970 elections, there had always been opposition to the electoral process.
The minister recalled that electoral reforms were carried out in 2017 but the committee chaired by Ishaq Dar ignored the issue of electronic voting.
We want the upcoming Senate and other elections as they are transparent and impartial, he said, adding that Pakistanis overseas were doing great service to Pakistan and sending substantial deliveries.
In the upcoming elections, he said Pakistanis abroad would be given the opportunity to vote electronically so that they could have a voice and participate in the country voting process.
Shibli Faraz said the Prime Minister strictly noted the growing incidents of sexual crimes against women and children despite the approval of Zainab Alert Bill, and issued an instruction to the relevant authorities to take measures to stop such incidents.
The minister said the inheritance bill had been approved by parliament which aimed to protect women’s legal rights and obtain the inheritance certificate.
Now the system has been repaired and the heirs of a deceased person can receive a certificate of inheritance in 15 days, he added.
Mr Faraz said the opposition simply resorted to rhetoric instead of forming a committee like the PTI and finding out who had crossed the party line.
The PTI had sent its 20 MPAs home for violations of party discipline, he said, asking why the opposition did not do so.
For the high prices of essential goods, the minister linked them to various factors.
When the PTI formed the government, there was no governance and there was a huge gap between revenues and expenditures, and then the coronavirus emerged, Mr Faraz said.
He cited statistics to show that the expenses of the Office of the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister were massively reduced while Prime Minister Imran Khan did not have a single camp office.
On the other hand, during the last 10 years of the PPP and PML-N governments, there were several camps, which incurred costs amounting to billions of rupees with thousands of police deployed for security.
The Minister of Information said that the expenditures of the Chamber of the Prime Minister and the Offices of the Prime Minister, respectively to Rs 509 million and Rs 514 million, respectively, fell to Rs 339 million and Rs 305 million, respectively, next year and then further reduced to Rs280m and Rs334m.
He said these austerity steps showed that when the country and its people were going through difficult times, their prime minister understood it.
Published in Agim, 18 February 2021
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