• Judges of 19 districts given powers to curb smuggling under Covid law • Cabinet approves medical authority’s establishment • Extends online visa facilities to 16 more countries
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday decided to exempt 61 items used in preparation of coronavirus vaccine from taxes and duties and delegated powers to district and sessions judges in 19 districts to curb smuggling under Covid-19 (Prevention of Smuggling) Ordinance-2020.
The cabinet meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, also gave approval to the establishment of the Pakistan Medical Authority and appointment of chairman of the National Medical and Dental Board.
Among other key decisions, the government decided to expand the list of countries being offered online visa facility by including 16 more countries. Now citizens of 191 countries can avail the online facility for Pakistani visa.
According to the Prime Minister Office, Prime Minister Imran Khan informed the cabinet that the government had devised a mechanism to address complaints of Members of National Assembly (MNAs). He told the cabinet that stern action would be taken against local administrations and other departments in case of negligence in addressing public complaints and problems.
The federal cabinet was informed that a mechanism had been devised to address problems being faced by people in NA constituencies. The meeting was apprised that “there was no shortage” of wheat and sugar in the country and that “there will be no increase in their prices” in future.
Pakistan online visa regime
The meeting was informed that the Ministry of Interior on March 14, 2019 had approved applications of nationals of 175 countries seeking Pakistani visa online. “Now the process has successfully been concluded by upscaling of Pakistan Online Visa System (POVS) after incorporation of the remaining 16 countries,” said a summary of the interior ministry presented before the cabinet.
“Now nationals from 191 countries can apply for Pakistan visa under different categories through POVS. It’s a huge milestone and step towards actualising the vision of the present government aimed at utilising technology as tool to facilitate visa applicants and ease the processing mechanism. It will ensure transparency and help Pakistan in tapping its tourism and the business potential,” the document said.
The meeting also discussed the country’s economic situation and the effect of second wave of coronavirus on the economy.
The cabinet approved the appointment of Rina Saeed Khan as chairperson of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board. The cabinet also approved appointment of chief executive officers of key public sector enterprises.
However, the cabinet rejected a proposal for inclusion of veteran TV producer Asghar Nadeem Syed and senior TV host and lawyer Naeem Bukhari as member of Pakistan Television (PTV) Board for being more than 65 years of age.
Besides, the decisions of the Cabinet Economic Coordination Committee, dated October 28 and November 4 were ratified in the meeting. However, the cabinet postponed the ratification of the decisions of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation, dated October 21, November 5 and the decisions of the Cabinet Institutional Reforms Committee, dated October 29.
Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2020