Islamabad: Federal Minister for information Qamar Zaman Kaira has said that the federal cabinet has given final approval to Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project.
Briefing media after cabinet meeting in Islamabad on Wednesday‚ he said that cabinet‚ which held its meeting with Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in the chair‚ also set up a four member committee under Finance Minister to monitor work on the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline project.
The minister said that work on the construction of the Pakistani side of the pipeline will be undertaken soon at a cost of one point five billion dollars. He said that work is continuing on the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project.
Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the cabinet also gave approval to Strategic Trade Policy whose details will be announced tomorrow Thursday. He said that the cabinet was informed that during July-December 2012‚ inflation remained seven point nine‚ which is the lowest in recent history of the country.
Information Minister said that the cabinet decided to empower the office of Ombudsman to institutionalize the process of accountability and provide speedy justice to the people. He said that the cabinet decided to give administrative and financial autonomy to the office of Ombudsman.
He said that previously eleven different departments were carrying out accountability while now all these departments have been streamlined under the office of the Ombudsman. He said that departments will be bound to provide relevant information to the office of the Ombudsman within fifteen days failing which disciplinary action will be taken against them.
The Minister said that the office of the Ombudsman will decide appeals within forty-five days and it will also be authorized to review its decisions. He said that appeal against the Ombudsman’s decisions can only be made to the President within one hundred and twenty days.
Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the tenure of the office of the ombudsman will be four years and the method for his removal will be the same as that of the judges of senior judiciary.
The Minister said that the cabinet decided to award the contract of operationalizing Gwadar Deep Sea Port to China Overseas Port Holding Limited. He said that previously the contract had been awarded to Singapore Port Authority but there were proposals to change the company.
He said that now the Singaporean company will share the task of operationalizing the port with China Overseas Port Holding Limited and transfer the responsibility to it.
Qamar Zaman Kaira said that Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf appreciated performance of the present assemblies and said that there is no precedence of what these assemblies have done. He said that the assemblies have provided a basis for handling any threat to the system.