Federal cabinet informed country has achieved self-sufficiency in medical equipment required to treat pandemic patients
Special Assistant to the P.M. on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan on Tuesday told the federal cabinet that a final decision on which COVID-19 vaccine would be procured would be taken “soon,” adding that the government was monitoring inbound travelers from the U.K. to curb the spread of a more infectious strain of the virus.
The meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was briefed on the ongoing second wave of the pandemic. Dr. Sultan claimed that Pakistan had achieved self-sufficiency in the manufacture of medical goods and ventilators, masks and other items needed to combat COVID-19. Following the briefing, the cabinet approved the release of Rs. 219.30 million for the Ministry of Health for the recently-completed Isolation Hospital and Infections Treatment Center in Islamabad. Dr. Sultan has maintained the center would help reduce the burden on hospitals in the federal capital.
The cabinet also approved the appointment of 16 federal drug inspectors in the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan and allocated their respective jurisdictions.
The Petroleum Division, meanwhile, briefed the cabinet on the availability of gas in the country. In recent weeks, both domestic and industrial consumers have complained of gas shortages, noting that the situation was deteriorating by the day. In a post-meeting press conference, Special Assistant to the P.M. on Petroleum Nadeem Babar sought to allay concerns, claiming the reduced pressure in gas pipelines was a result of the intense cold wave. He claimed the situation would improve after Jan. 15.
During the meeting, the Interior Ministry and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) presented a timeline for the removal of encroachments from Margalla Road, Islamabad. The CDA said that a wall along the Margalla Road would be relocated to the approved boundary within six months, adding that wetlands would be constructed for cleaning of the nullah passing through this sector within three months.
The cabinet was also informed that an underpass would be constructed through partnership between the Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force and the CDA to reduce the traffic burden on residential areas along the Margalla Road. It was stressed that green belts would be maintained and would not be utilized for any permanent construction. The cabinet approved the allocation of 120 acres of land to CDA for the establishment of a Special Technology Zone in Islamabad.
The federal cabinet, in a slew of approvals, validated the posting of Frontier Constabulary in Gilgit-Baltistan for three years to ensure the protection of natural resources in the area. It also approved the appointment of Dr. Muhammad Saeed Khan as director general of the Hydrocarbon Development Institute of Pakistan, as well as that of Javed Ghani as Federal Board of Revenue chairman.
The cabinet also approved the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the National Accountability Bureau and the U.S.’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, which would allow the organizations to share information on properties and assets of nationals in each other’s countries.
The cabinet also endorsed decisions taken by the Privatization Commission and the Economic Coordination Committee during their respective meetings on Dec. 24.