Pak Affairs

Wheat strategic stocks, no negotiations with terrorists in FATA

Govt to maintain strategic stocks of wheat, rice; army has not been withdrawn from FATA and it has been redeployed to ensure security of peaceful citizens

The Federal Cabinet has decided to allow the private sector to import wheat and removed ten percent import duty on the commodity to ensure its abundant availability in the country. Its meeting was held in Islamabad today under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. Later, briefing newsmen Information Minister Sherry Rehman said 2.5 million tons of wheat would be imported and ban on export of wheat would continue.

She said as per its policy the Government would maintain strategic stocks of wheat and rice to meet any emergent situation. The Cabinet directed PASSCO to supply wheat to the NWFP and Balochistan in view of its shortage in the two provinces. The meeting asked government departments in arrear of WAPDA bills to clear their dues in one month otherwise Finance Ministry would deduct these areas at

The Information Minister said the Cabinet reiterated that there would be no talks with terrorists but with those who want to pursue the path of peace. She said army has not been withdrawn from FATA and it has been redeployed to ensure security of peaceful citizens. Ms. Sherry Rehman said the Government would compensate those whose houses or property were destroyed in FATA but this would apply only to peaceful people and not those who engaged in armed operations against the government.

She said newsmen would be given access to FATA in gradual manner. Asked about NATO air strikes, the Minister said Pakistan would not allow any incursion. She said the cabinet decided to withdraw the government sponsored bill on dower and gifts on marriages as a similar bill has been introduced in the Senate by a private member and the Government wants to encourage legislation sponsored by private members.

It has also been decided that the announcement to increase the minimum wages to Rs. 6,000 a month would be part of the next Finance Bill. She said the Prime Minister briefed the cabinet about his recent visit to Egypt to attend the World Economic Forum and his interaction with the world leaders on its sidelines. The cabinet expressed grief and sorrow over loss of life and property in Chinese quake and observed one minute silence. The Minister also briefed journalists about her recent visit to Geneva and said the World Health Organization has agreed to provide Pakistan assistance for treatment of Hepatitis. She hoped that Pakistan would become polio free by the end of next year.-SANA

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Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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