PM chairs NSC meeting; high-powered committee under Interior Minister approved to probe audio leaks

F.P. Report
ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC), in its meeting held here Wednesday with Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in chair, approved the constitution of a high-powered committee led by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah to probe the issue of audio leaks.
The meeting, which besides Federal Ministers was attended by Services Chiefs, heads of intelligence agencies and other senior officials, pondered over the audio leaks matter. After consultation, the meeting also decided to prepare “Legal Framework” about cyber-security and in that respect directed the Ministry of Law and Justice for the preparation of legal framework.
The meeting agreed to review the security, safety and the protection of official communications in view of current changed environment of modern technology and cyberspace so as to check any interruption in the security system. The heads of intelligence agencies gave a detailed briefing about the security of importance places including the PM House, cyberspace and other related aspect.
The meeting was told that investigations about the audios circulating on social media were underway. It was also told about the fool-proof security arrangements at PM House, after the identification of some aspects regarding security. The meeting was apprised of emergency steps being taken to ensure the security of important places and buildings including the PM House and Ministries so as to avoid any such situation in future.
The meeting also reviewed the historic flood devastation, rescue and relief measures, and the current security situation. The participants expressed their grief over loss of lives, since June 14, due to the floods and offered condolences to the bereaved families. They also offered Fateha for the departed souls. The meeting also reviewed the steps taken for immediate support of 33 million flood affectees, their shifting to the safe places, supply of food, medical treatment and provision of other necessary items. They also lauded the role played by the civil administration and the relevant departments, and especially of the army, navy and air force for saving lives of those trapped in the floods, their safe evacuation, and provision of food and other items and appreciated their passion to serve even in the most difficult situation.
The participants also acknowledged the civil society, the media and philanthropists for their role and support for the affected people, and expressed the hope that they would continue contributing in the noble cause with such display of spirit. The meeting also paid tribute to the martyred army officers and Jawans of Lasbela Army Aviation helicopter crash incident in Balochistan and said the nation saluted their martyrs and their families.
The participants reiterated the resolve that support and rehabilitation of the flood affected people would remain a priority as a national agenda, and expressed determination that the efforts would continue with same display of passion, focus and coordination till rehabilitation of the countrymen. Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood gave a briefing about the prime minister’s recent participation in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit and 77th United Nations General Assembly session in New York. He also apprised the meeting of the prime minister’s bilateral meetings with different heads and leaders of the member countries.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif chairing a meeting of the Federal Cabinet, also directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Flood Response and Coordination Center (NRFCC), provincial disaster management authorities, provincial government and other relevant authorities for chalking out an immediate comprehensive strategy and taking practical steps to drain out flood water from different districts of Sindh.
The prime minister, also expressed gratitude to the French government and the French ambassador in Pakistan for the provision of additional water pumps, the PM Office Media Wing said in a press release. Shehbaz Sharif lauded the Ministry of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety over the distribution of Rs 50 billion among 2 million families under the Prime Minister’s Flood Relief cash programme through the Benazir Income Support Programme.
He stressed that the cabinet should be apprised of the steps taken to resolve any future complaints during the distribution phase. He noted that transparency was an important element of the flood relief cash programme, which was being ensured by the Federal Government. The cabinet approved a comprehensive strategy over the present and future ‘Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT)/ Treaties with Investment Provisions (TIPs)’ on the recommendation of Board of Investment and its decision taken on 27-07-2021. In this regard, three main treaties were of utmost important. The prime minister said that a complete, comprehensive and permanent strategy over the treaties with different countries was vital for the promotion of investment in Pakistan.
He directed for its promulgation and implementation on priority basis. The cabinet also approved in principle the formation of a steering committee under the Living Indus Initiative upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Climate Change. The committee would be comprising federal ministries and provincial governments, including Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
It emphasized that inclusion of suggestions from the parliament regarding the Living Indus Initiative was very significant. Moreover, at the grassroots level, awareness must be created about the initiative through inclusion in the educational syllabus. The proposed initiative would ensure the construction of infrastructure and adaptation regarding protection of the natural resources linked with the Indus and other connected rivers, and the economic activities, thus protecting them from the future climate changes.
Upon the recommendation of the Ministry of Industries and Production, the cabinet allowed the Trading Corporation of Pakistan to import 300,000 metric ton Urea under G2G for the Rabi crops. It also ratified the decision taken on September 7 in the ECC (Economic Coordination Committee) meeting regarding the CCoP (Cabinet Committee on Privatization).
The cabinet also endorsed the following decisions taken on September 21 during the ECC meeting:- Clearance of Stuck-up Consignments in Light of Office Memoranda Dated July 22 , August 19 and August 23 issued by the Ministry of Commerce. During the meeting, the foreign secretary gave a detailed briefing to the cabinet members about the prime minister’s visit to Samarkand and New York.
During the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, the prime minister held meetings with ten leaders of different countries including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin and the presidents and leaders of the Central Asian Republics. During a meeting with the Russian president, both leaders agreed to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation in different sectors including energy.
Moreover, the prime minister apprised the Russian president about Pakistan’s interest to purchase wheat at the low cost which was welcomed by President Putin. Besides, both sides agreed to further activate inter-governmental commission between the two countries. It was also agreed that a high-level delegation from Pakistan would soon visit Russia.
The meeting was further informed that prime minister’s participation in the SCO and address were the important components of the visit. During the visit, at the SCO forum and in the bilateral meetings, the historic climatic induced floods and the plight of the flood affectees were effectively highlighted upon which the member countries had assured to support Pakistan.
For the energy sector, regional linkages, trade and investment and people to people contacts, task forces had been established and it was expected that they would yield positive results.
The SCO member countries had endorsed Pakistan’s stance over enhanced global support for durable peace in Afghanistan, countering of terrorism in the region and the resolution of Kashmir issue in line with the aspiration of the Kashmiri people for a permanent peace and progress and prosperity in South Asia. During the 77th United Nations General Assembly session, the foreign secretary said at the global level, prime minister’s viewpoint regarding developed countries’ responsibility over the climatic change which led to disastrous affects upon Pakistan, despite its low carbon footprints, was highly appreciated.
Besides, stressing upon the need for support and relief measures for the flood affected people of Pakistan, the world leaders assured their full support to the flood affected people during their bilateral meetings with the prime minister. In the meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, both leaders agreed to further strengthen the bilateral ties.
The French president offered to arrange donors’ conference for the flood victims of Pakistan which was not only a welcome step for the flood affected people, but also would further cement the bilateral ties between the two countries. The UN secretary general also fully supported Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan once again made the world to realize that for peaceful South Asia and for the economic prosperity of the region, durable resolution of the Kashmir issue was indispensable. The prime minister also attended the funeral of late Queen Elizabeth II and held meeting with King Charles III. The King expressed his deep grief over losses in the floods and assured full support.