ISLAMABAD: After six years, the federal cabinet finally approved on Wednesday lifting of a moratorium on new gas connections for both private and commercial consumers. The ban had been imposed in 2011 by the last PPP government in view of a serious gas crisis.
Chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a meeting of the cabinet approved lifting of the ban based on the recommendations of the Cabinet Committee on Energy. The cabinet also approved execution of gas development schemes, initiated during the tenure of the incumbent government.
The cabinet also approved a project related to low-cost housing in the country. In this regard, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal briefed the meeting. The cabinet agreed to form a subcommittee – comprising housing, planning, railways and Safron ministers and other senior officials – to work out a detailed plan on housing within 10 days and present it in the next cabinet meeting.
The cabinet also approved a number of agenda items, related to enhancing cooperation and agreements between Pakistan and other countries in various fields, including aviation, defence, interior, health and law. These included approval of an agreement on technical cooperation between the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) and Oman’s Sultan Qaboos University on Tsunami Early Warning System (TEWS). An agreement between the PMD and the Meteo-France for cooperation in the field of meteorology was also approved.
The cabinet agreed, in principle, to negotiate the draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) on defence cooperation between Kenya and Pakistan. It approved signing of a statement of intent in the field of research and cooperative activities between Switzerland’s Geneva Centre for Security Policy and Pakistan’s National Defence University.
The cabinet approved, in principle, to start negotiations on a draft MoU between Czech Republic’s Ministry of Defence and Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production on cooperation in the field of defence industry and logistics.
The cabinet also approved to start negotiations on a visa abolition agreement between Pakistan and Cuba for diplomatic, official and service passport holders. It gave the nod of approval to initiation of negotiations on a draft MoU between the Ministry of Interior and Norway’s Ministry of Justice on cooperation in combating crime.
“Signing of a negotiated draft visa abolition agreement between Pakistan and Jordan for the holders of diplomatic and official passports [and] signing of agreement between Pakistan and Bulgaria on abolition of visa for diplomatic and service/official passport holders [ was also approved],” said an statement.
An MoU for strengthening cooperation in the area of anti-corruption between the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and China’s Ministry of Supervision was approved. It was agreed to start negotiations and sharing of the counter draft MoU on agricultural cooperation with Thailand.
Initiation of negotiations on the Memorandum of Cooperation for the Development of Mechanism to Combat Drug Related Crimes between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Anti-Narcotics Force was also green-lighted.
The cabinet ratified signing of an MoU between Pakistan and Sri Lanka on cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine and signing of MoU between Iran and Pakistan for mutual cooperation in the field of health services, medical education, research, drug and medical technology.
It also confirmed and approved decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet in its meeting held on February 13, February 22 and March 28. It also ratified recommendation of the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative cases, held on March 22 and April 10.