Govt allows immediate balloting for 50pc quota of Hajj pilgrims for 2018

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday allowed the Ministry of Religious Affairs to immediately carry out Hajj balloting for 50 per cent of the total quota of Hajj pilgrims for 2018.

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The cabinet took the decision after reviewing current state of legal proceedings and the need to communicate maximum number of Hajj pilgrims to Saudi authorities before March 3, for finalising flight schedules.

The secretary of Ministry of Religious Affairs briefed the meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, on progress of arrangements regarding 2018 Hajj operation.

The cabinet also directed the ministry to request Islamabad High Court for early finalisation of legal proceedings as the Supreme Court referred all the pending petitions to the IHC in the last hearing.

The meeting considered an inquiry report on corruption pertaining to Kachhi Canal project. It decided to constitute a committee headed by the minister for water resources for suggesting implementation mechanism of the findings of the report.

The signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination and American Institute of Pakistan Studies was also aprroved at Wednesday’s meeting, with a proviso that performance report of the institute for last five years be presented before the cabinet.

The meeting approved applicability of Islamabad Rent Restriction Ordinance, 2001 to Zone V of Islamabad and directed Interior Ministry to review the law. It also directed Interior Ministry to place the case before the next meeting of the cabinet for applicability of law in the remaining areas of Islamabad.

A committee for this purpose was also constituted under Special Assistant to PM on Law Barrister Zafarullah Khan, with secretary interior, CDA chairman, Islamabad chief commissioner and other stakeholders.

Rejecting a proposal for increase in the prices of CNICs of specified categories, the cabinet directed Ministry of Interior and NADRA chairman to review the proposal for the purpose of rationalisation of the cost of CNICs.

Regarding the appointment of chairman of Evacuee Trust Property Board in compliance of the Supreme Court’s orders, the meeting directed Ministry of Religious Affairs to expedite framing of relevant rules in the light of directions of the apex court.

In the meantime, the cabinet approved a proposal for grant of an additional charge of the ETPB to Muhammad Ashraf Lanjaar, senior joint secretary of the ministry until a permanent appointment is made.

The meeting also approved appointment of S.A. Manan as chairman of board of management of Pakistan State Oil Company Limited (PSOCL), besides giving a go-ahead for execution of various development schemes prepared by the cabinet committee.

APP

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