The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the formation of a committee to review an application of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), seeking reversal of the government’s ban on the party imposed earlier this year.
Briefing journalists after the cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the ministers also approved special procedure for the Chinese nationals working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
The government banned the TLP, following violent protests by the outfit in which some policemen were martyred while several others sustained injuries. The TLP had sought expulsion of the French ambassador from Pakistan over publication of blasphemous cartoons in a Paris weekly.
Chaudhry said the cabinet approved the formation of a committee to review the TLP’s application for lifting of ban on it. “After reviewing the application, the committee would present its recommendations to the cabinet,” Chaudhry added.
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Chaudhry said that the cabinet also approved special procedure for all Chines citizens associated with the CPEC-related projects or those who wanted to bring investment to the country. The Chinese citizens will get two-year work-entry visa by the Pakistani mission in China within 48 hours while the security clearance would “certainly be completed” within 30 days, he said.
“Separate immigration counters will be set up for CPEC business-visa holders just like a special counter is set up for green-channel visa holders,” he said. “Separate desks will also be set up at the interior ministry and the Pakistani mission in China to consider all the CPEC-related applications.”
Under the CPEC category, the information minister said, the cabinet also approved the establishment of a separate sub-category for work business visa. “The purpose of these decisions is to facilitate Chinese citizens and those related with CPEC projects,” he said.
According to the minister, giving voting rights to the overseas Pakistanis was an important part of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) electoral reforms agenda .He urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to take immediate steps to bring them into the electoral process. The cabinet also approved holding of cantonment board elections.
Information Minister Chaudhry told reporters that journalists associations, different press clubs as well as the bar associations had expressed their willingness to hold their respective elections by using electronic voting machines (EVMs).
The cabinet appreciated the government’s economic team for steering the country towards stability despite the challenge posed by Covid-19 and the flawed policies of the previous regimes. In addition, the ministers decided to send medical aid and medicines to Bosnia to fight against Covid-19.
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The information minister informed reporters that the cabinet meeting on Tuesday was the first ever ministerial huddle in the country’s history, which was paperless – which means that all the information during the meeting were shared digitally.
“Today’s cabinet meeting was the first paperless meeting in the history of Pakistan,” Chaudhry told reporters. He also said that most number of the cabinet meetings in the history of Pakistan were held during the tenure of the present government.
Giving a comparison with the previous governments, the minister said that there had been 226 cabinet meetings since 2008 – 67 cabinet meetings under the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government and 23 cabinet meetings under the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government from May 5, 2013 to June 30, 2016.
Commenting about opposition parties, the minister said that they had the right to do politics but none of them would be able to revive the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), especially in view of the internal rifts and lack of ideology.