The PTI-led coalition government on Thursday felt the heat of the Hazara community’s sit-in Quetta, with Prime Minister Imran discussed the political and security response to the protest with his ministers.
The government seemed to be thrown on the defensive as it was repeatedly challenged by the opposition over its slow response to the massacre of eleven coal miners belonging to the Shia Hazara community in the Mach coal field area in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The mourners, including women and children, have been sitting along with the bodies of 11 labourers in extreme weather conditions near the Western Bypass area close to Hazara Town in Quetta and have refused to leave until the Prime Minister visits them.
However, the meeting remained undecided about the premier’s visit to Quetta to meet the protesters. The prime minister directed the interior ministry to devise a foolproof security mechanism for the Hazara community that faced terror incidents in the past.
Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed, who also attended the meeting, gave a comprehensive briefing to the prime minister about the safety measures and demands put forward by the Hazaras. The meeting decide to compensate the victims’ families in line with the government rules and policy.
In addition, the prime minister also concurred with his aides over the political situation of the country with particular reference to the ongoing anti-government campaign.
The meeting also discussed the premier’s Lahore visit on Friday but a final decision would be taken about it on January 8 (today).
The participants also discussed the Senate elections and expressed confidence in the positive economic indicators.
Meanwhile, PM Imran chaired the meeting of the Apex Committee on Economic Outreach, which was attended by federal ministers – Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Senator Shibli Faraz, Syed Fakhar Imam, Fawad Ahmed – Adviser to PM Abdul Razaq Dawood, Governor State Bank Dr Reza Baqir, SAPMs Dr Moeed Yusuf and Dr Faisal Sultan as well as senior officers.
Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, AJ&K and Gilgit-Baltistan participated in the meeting thorough video link.
SAPM Dr Yusuf briefed the meeting that an extensive mapping exercise about export potential of goods and services was carried out in consultation with relevant government ministries, provinces and the private sector.
The PM’s aide noted that information technology, textiles, agriculture, meat, leather, pottery and ceramics, machinery and auto parts, metals and surgical instruments possess an additional export potential of $31 billion.
Yusuf further updated that a multiplier effect of additional $2 billion could be achieved from medical and religious tourism, transport services, manpower, pharmaceuticals, marble and granite and salt products.
He maintained that there was potential of additional exports worth $16.7 billion to UAE, USA, China, Germany, UK, France, Indonesia, Spain, Algeria and Malaysia.
Yusuf presented an overview for human resource allocation, key performance indicators for foreign missions of Pakistan, human resource training and strengthening of ministerial structures.
During the meeting, PM Imran said that the main objective of the apex committee was to chalk out a long-term plan for import substitution and increasing exports so that Pakistan becomes self-reliant.
He emphasised that international best practices needed to be adopted for priority sectors and consultations with international experts were essential for achieving success. He also stressed on the need to enhance inter-ministerial coordination and public-private partnership for increasing exports.
It was decided that commerce ministry would furnish an action plan with timelines in one-week time and update the premier on weekly basis regarding progress made on priority sectors.