US military equipment left in Afghanistan now in militant hands: PM Kakar

Pakistan’s caretaker prime minister claimed that US military equipment left behind during the American withdrawal from Afghanistan has fallen into militant hands.

The equipment — which includes a wide variety of items, from night vision goggles to firearms — is now “emerging as a new challenge” for Islamabad Prime Minister Anwaarul-Haq Kakar said while speaking to foreign journalists.

He said there was a need to adopt a “coordinated approach” to tackling the challenge of the leftover equipment. Kakar further said that the Pak-Afghan ties are deeply rooted in cultural and faith-based linkages as well as social integration.

“Pakistan showed magnanimity to the Afghan refugees and the government is coming up with a policy to address the challenge of illegal immigrants,” he added.

Power bills
The prime minister said that the government would make informed decisions to satisfy electricity consumers on the issue of inflated bills without deviating from the country’s commitments with international financial institutions.

Mentioning the issues of circular debt, power theft, and taxes, PM Kakar said the government would introduce short-term solutions to the issue without undermining the agitating people.

The inflated power bills triggered country-wide protests from Karachi to Khyber and protests in some parts of the country are turning violent.

The protesting masses have been demanding that the government should end the provision of free electricity to the notables and provide them relief as the bills they have been receiving are more than their salaries.

The caretaker PM assured that the interim government was mandated to facilitate holding the general elections as early as possible while observing the constitutional obligations.

He pointed out that the Constitution called for carrying out the delimitation following the population census.

PM Kakar said without redesigning the government structure, the caretaker setup was mainly focused on rearranging the fiscal and monetary policies to build an edifice for economic revival.

‘SIFC strategy for economic revival’
Calling the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) a strategy for economic revival, he said it focused on agriculture, mines and minerals, defence production and information technology.

However, he also spelled out the economic reform agenda of his government, saying that the imminent steps included the privatisation of two or more power distribution companies.

He said the reforms needed in taxation and power sectors and that the government would leave behind a basis for mid-level reforms.

The caretaker premier further said the government was pursuing a policy of doing the doable and providing a strategic direction to the economic planning.

General elections
To a question, he said all the registered political parties would be provided a level playing field to contest the general elections without any discrimination.

However, he said in certain instances, political behavior turned into vandalism and the country’s law was already in vogue to deal with such conduct.

Anwaarul Haq Kakar also said regardless of any political association, the people of Balochistan welcomed every project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which had entered the second phase.

He reiterated the government’s resolve to go to any extent to protect the Chinese workers taking part in the CPEC projects.

Referring to the massive reserves worth $6 trillion of copper and gold in Balochistan, the prime minister said the Reko Diq project was about to start soon.

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