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'Relief to poor': PM Shehbaz decides to provide subsidy on 5 essential items

The said subsidy will be provided across the country through utility stores

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'Relief to poor': PM Shehbaz decides to provide subsidy on 5 essential items
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday decided in principle to provide subsidy on five essential items including wheat flour, sugar, ghee/edible oil, pulses and rice for the poor and backward segments during the next fiscal year.

The said subsidy, a major relief for the poor and backward segments, will be provided across the country through utility stores.

The Prime Minister was presiding over a high level meeting about utility stores. The Prime Minister also approved expansion in the network of utility stores in Karachi.

He said that the less number of utility stores in Karachi was not acceptable in any way, adding, a comprehensive plan for raising the number of utility stores should be presented within two weeks.

The Prime Minister said as the backward segment required maximum relief, the government was ready to spend every cost for that purpose. Providing relief to poor on essential items was the foremost priority of the government, he added.

The Prime Minister said that a comprehensive, consolidated, transparent and digital subsidy system should be formulated under which relief be provided especially to the backward segment on priority basis.

He also called for the formulation of a strategy to reform the subsidy system in cooperation with the Ministers for Finance, Industries & Production and Poverty Reduction.

The meeting was briefed in detail about the provision of subsidy through utility stores, targeted subsidy for the backward segment, expansion in the number of utility stores across the country and progress on the program providing cheaper wheat flour in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the vision of the Prime Minister.

It was told that besides 1,380 franchises, the Utility Stores Corporation was directly running 3,822 stores across the country. Over 300 new stores will be opened in Balochistan, Sindh, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and Punjab by July 30.

The meeting was told that so far 113 million people have benefitted from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s relief package and got subsidies of Rs. 60 per kg on wheat flour, Rs. 21 on sugar, Rs. 250 on ghee, and Rs. 15 to Rs. 20 on pulses and rice. The digital subsidy system was linked with the data of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and Ministry of Poverty Reduction.

It was further told that the provision of cheaper wheat flour was being ensured in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa through 942 utility stores. Whereas on the special instructions of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif 1000 new sale points and 200 mobile stores were being added.

Regarding Balochistan, the meeting was told that after the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during the month of Ramazan and under his special direction, the provision of essential items at cheaper rates in the province was being ensured.

For that purpose, besides utility stores, mobile stores have also been established in the province to ensure the provision of subsidy in far flung areas.    

Federal Ministers Miftah Ismail, Makhdoom Murtaza Mahmood and relevant senior officers were present in the meeting.

SOURCE: APP 

Pakistan

Pakistan working closely with int’l organizations to address challenges stemming from illicit drugs: PM

"We must work collectively to protect young people from the risks of drug abuse and safeguard their health and wellbeing."

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Pakistan working closely with int’l organizations to address challenges stemming from illicit drugs: PM

Islamabad: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Pakistan is working closely with international organizations to address the challenges stemming from illicit drugs.  

In a message on the occasion of International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, being observed today, he said Pakistan is a signatory to all global conventions and protocols related to the prevention of drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

The Prime Minister said the easy availability of synthetic drugs pose dangers to the general public, especially the youth, which make up more than sixty percent of Pakistan's population.

He said we must work collectively to protect young people from the risks of drug abuse and safeguard their health and wellbeing.

The Prime Minister said preventing drug use before it begins is the most cost-effective, common-sense approach to promote safe and healthy communities.

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is being observed today across the globe to prevent drug abuse and raise awareness about the alarming threats it poses to society, especially the youth.

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Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors

"The people are extremely needy for food and clean water"

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Afghan health official warns of disease outbreak among earthquake survivors

Kabul: Thousands affected by a deadly earthquake in eastern Afghanistan are in need of clean water and food and are at risk of disease, an Afghan health ministry official said on Sunday, days after a U.N. agency warned of a cholera outbreak in the region.

At least 1,000 people were killed, 2,000 injured and 10,000 homes destroyed in Wednesday s earthquake, after which the U.N. humanitarian office (OCHA) warned that cholera outbreaks in the aftermath are of particular and serious concern. 

"The people are extremely needy for food and clean water," Afghanistan s health ministry spokesperson Sharafat Zaman told Reuters, adding officials had managed medicines for now but handling those who had lost their homes would be a challenge.

"We ask the international community, humanitarian organisations to help us for food and medicine, the survivor might catch diseases because they don’t have proper houses and shelters for living," he said.

The disaster is a major test for Afghanistan s hardline Taliban rulers, who have been shunned by many foreign governments due to concerns about human rights since they seized control of the country last year.

Helping thousands of Afghans is also a challenge for countries that had imposed sanctions on Afghan government bodies and banks, cutting off direct assistance, leading to a humanitarian crisis even before the earthquake.

The United Nations and several other countries have rushed aid to the affected areas, with more due to arrive over the coming days.

Afghanistan s Taliban administration called for a rolling back of sanctions and lifting a freeze on billions of dollars in central bank assets stashed in Western financial institutions. read more

In Kabul, hospitals more used to treating victims of war have opened their wards to earthquake victims, but a majority of people remain in the areas destroyed by the earthquake.

"Our houses were destroyed, we have no tent... there are lots of children with us. We have nothing. Our food and clothes...everything is under rubble," Hazrat Ali, 18, told a Reuters team in Wor Kali, a village of the hardest-hit Barmal district.

"I have lost my brothers, my heart is broken. Now we are just two. I loved them a lot," he said.

SOURCE: Reuters

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Morocco: 27 migrants die in stampede to enter Spain’s Melilla

The incident at the border crossing was the first since Spain and Morocco boosted their bilateral cooperation after Madrid decided to support Rabat’s position on the independence of Western Sahara. 

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Morocco: 27 migrants die in stampede to enter Spain’s Melilla

Moroccan authorities said that 27 migrants were killed and dozens of migrants and police officers were injured in a “stampede” of people trying to cross into the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla.

According to the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), the death toll of migrants who died trying to cross from Morocco into the Spanish enclave of Melilla rose to 27 today (June 25). 

On Friday, around 2,000 migrants—many from Sudan—tried to cross the militarized border fence.

At first, five people were reported dead, but later, Moroccan authorities raised the figure to 18. 

“The victims of the tragedy in Melilla agonized for hours under the cruel gaze of those who were supposed to help them and did not do so,” tweeted founder of Walking Borders Helena Maleno Garzon, who also confirmed the report of 27 dead.

Spanish officials said 49 Civil Guards sustained minor injuries while four police vehicles were damaged by rocks thrown by some migrants. 

Videos from the Moroccan side of the border show what appear to be dead bodies and people with severe injuries strewn out on the ground without receiving medical attention. 

Other images show hundreds of people, some with clear injuries, lying in a pile on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs.

Moroccan police used tear gas to disperse those trying to climb the border fence.

Following the horrific incident, several NGOs are calling for an immediate investigation into the treatment of migrants. 

The incident at the border crossing was the first since Spain and Morocco boosted their bilateral cooperation after Madrid decided to support Rabat’s position on the independence of Western Sahara. 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Friday applauded the “extraordinary work of the Moroccan government in coordination with Spain to try to stop a violent assault, which was, in this case, well resolved.”

Last year, Moroccan authorities stood passively by as thousands swam into the Spanish enclave of Ceuta amid a diplomatic spat over Spain treating the separatist leader of Western Sahara for coronavirus.

According to Spanish authorities, just 133 people managed to reach Spain during Friday’s border crossing attempt. 

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