ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday pledged that Pakistan will support Afghanistan to avert a humanitarian crisis and cautioned that disengaging Afghanistan will be a human tragedy for the world.
He said this while presiding over the second meeting of the Apex Committee on Afghanistan here, which was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Planning Minister Asad Umer, Adviser on Finance Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yousaf and senior civil and military officers.
The participants of the Apex Committee again expressed concerns about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan and emphasized that Pakistan will not abandon the Afghans in their time of need. The prime minister hoped the world would not repeat the mistake of disengaging Afghanistan. He urged the international community to support the vulnerable people of Afghanistan.
The prime minister said Pakistan will support the Afghan people in every possible way to avert a humanitarian crisis. He highlighted that Pakistan is already committed to immediate relief of humanitarian assistance worth Rs5 billion, which comprises food commodities, including 50,000 MT of wheat, emergency medical supplies, winter shelters and other supplies.
The Apex Committee was briefed that as per the directions of the prime minister, the facility of free COVID vaccination for all Afghans entering Pakistan is being continued. The process of obtaining the Pakistani visa has been simplified for Afghans.
The prime minister instructed that humanitarian organizations wishing to work from Pakistan to support efforts in Afghanistan should be facilitated as Pakistan is already committed to being the air and land bridge for humanitarian support to Afghanistan. Pakistan is hosting an extraordinary session of the OIC Foreign Ministers in Islamabad on Sunday to highlight the plight of vulnerable Afghan people in these testing times and to discuss ways to help them.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the world should not repeat the mistakes already committed in Afghanistan. He said if immediate attention is not paid to Afghanistan, millions
of Afghans will die of hunger and cold.
Meanwhile, the PM called for using environment-friendly material including smart trees, blue roads and energy-efficient construction materials in Lahore. He emphasized that green urbanization will help reduce the adverse impacts of pollution and these models should be replicated in other cities of the country. This he said while chairing a meeting regarding the Ravi Urban Development Authority (RUDA) and Central Business District (CBD) Lahore projects.
The prime minister said the development of green spaces in new plans and preservation in existing urban areas is necessary for mitigating the impacts of pollution including smog. He directed the Punjab government to take strict legal action against elements involved in illegal encroachments and illegal housing societies. He also directed expediting the process of land transfer for RUDA and CBD projects.
The PM emphasized that urban development projects are being initiated for attracting investments and should not be criticized and hindered for political reasons. He highlighted that these projects are for improving the socio-economic conditions of the common man.
Earlier, the meeting was apprised that physical work on both RUDA and CBD projects is in full swing and the land acquisition process is near completion. It was informed that Rs 100 billion investment is expected in CBD in the first year. The meeting was informed that 1,900 low cost housing units are included in the master plan of the Ravi Urban Development Scheme.
The meeting was attended by Federal Minister Information Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, the advisor Finance, SAPM Dr Shahbaz Gill, Chairman Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Lt Gen (R) Anwar Ali Haider, the chief secretary Punjab and senior officials.
Meanwhile, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani called on Prime Minister Imran Khan. Senator Saifullah Niazi and Senator Abdul Qadir were present in the meeting. Legislative and parliamentary issues were discussed in the meeting.
Separately, Chairman Board of Investment Ahsan Azfar called on the prime minister. During the meeting, the PM was given a detailed briefing on ongoing reforms and restructuring in the Board of Investment. The meeting was briefed on the appointment of the new board of directors of the Board of Investment and making it more effective.
The Board of Investment is going to hold an international investment summit next year and an investment summit for Pakistanis abroad. The prime minister sought suggestions from the Board of Investment for the appointment of the Board of Directors and directed ensuring timely completion of the steps.