ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed for uniform pay scales of government employees to avoid discrimination. The directive was given during a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday.

The federal Cabinet also approved the request for granting powers of ‘inquiry commission’ to the committee formed recently to probe the recent wheat flour and sugar shortage in the country.

Briefing media on cabinet decisions, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan said the Prime Minister assigned the Advisor on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh to hold talks with striking employees and also work with central and provincial governments to remove this disparity and both should send proposals to cabinet, so that sense of deprivation among employees is removed. She said people have high expectations from this government and all steps would be taken to ensure it.

The cabinet was briefed on the post Coronavirus situation in the country.  Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari Special Assistant on National Health Dr. Zafar Mirza apprised the cabinet of their talks with parents of Pakistani students in China and steps taken for their welfare. 

The issue of testing service for jobs in various government departments was also discussed by the cabinet. 

Advisor on Establishment and Special Assistant on Social Welfare are to devise a course of action regarding testing in government departments so that candidates for the posts of grades 1 to 5 are facilitated.

The cabinet approved the resignation of Chairman BOI Zubair Gilani who gave it on personal reasons.

The cabinet was updated on the progress so far regarding the report on the shortage of flour and sugar. It was informed that the details will be received after a week. Secretary Interior updated the meeting on the progress of the committee assigned to probe the issue and DG FIA, the committee convener, apprised the cabinet that available information and forensic audit are required by this committee. The cabinet approved the granting of powers of the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act 2017 to the committee. 

The PM also directed to ascertain those who were responsible for the shortage of these commodities.

The Special Assistant said Prime Minister was informed of the public interest initiatives of various ministries. 

The cabinet overviewed the decisions made so far. 

The Prime Minister said that the PTI government inherited an energy crisis and all the agreements were made during the tenure of previous governments. However, people have to face the consequences of those decisions. It was decided that the energy issue will be deliberated upon in the next meeting of the cabinet.

The cabinet reiterated its decision not to do trade with India due to its suppression of Muslims in Occupied Kashmir and India.

The cabinet endorsed its earlier decision not to export surgical masks keeping in view the Coronavirus situation in the country.

The cabinet was given a briefing by Advisor on Institutional Reforms regarding the reorganization of government departments. 

The cabinet discussed the quota of Islamabad residents in various government jobs and decided that fifty percent quota will be reserved for domicile holders of the federal capital in various public sector jobs in grades 1 to 15. This quota will be applicable to jobs based in Islamabad.



Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday expressed the government’s determination to end poverty from the country stating a civilized society is known by the standard of living of its poor.

Addressing the launching ceremony of Data4Pakistan Portal, Prime Minister said this is the first step in finding necessary ways and means to fight poverty, adding that no country can progress if significant portion of its population lives in poverty.

Imran Khan said this portal will help identify the areas which are in most need of funds, besides finding other vital statistics about issues being faced by the local people.

Criticizing the policies of previous governments, the Prime Minister said ground realities were not considered in budget allocations at that time and more than 55 per cent of Punjab budget was being spent on development of Lahore alone while other provincial cities were ignored.

“We will focus on equal development of all the areas”, he added.

The Prime Minister said Data4Pakistan will also help in policy making at the higher level as well as allocation of budget.

He said the earmarking of the budget will be on need and merit basis, without any political or other influences.

Earlier, Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr. Sania Nishtar said Data4Pakistan, the first initiative of its kind in the country, provides open and public access to a spatial interactive portal that has poverty estimates for every district in Pakistan, along with over 120 development and policy indicators.

She said the portal currently has six rounds of district poverty and development data, covering the period 2004-2018.

This portal will be a very valuable resource for federal, provincial and district level policymakers, for decision making.

Ehsaas District Development Portal “Data4Pakistan” developed in collaboration with World Bank will prove as a valuable resource for federal, provincial and district level policy makers for decision making.

Data4Pakistan, the first initiative of its kind in the country, provides open and public access to a spatial interactive portal that has poverty estimates for every district in Pakistan, along with over 120 development and policy indicators.

The portal currently has six rounds of district poverty and development data, covering the period 2004-2018.

The Data4Pakistan Portal, as a part of Ehsaas strategy, will be hosted on the Ehsaas website of Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division:

Interactive maps will allow the user to visualize and compare districts on poverty and two additional indicators.

Mousing over a district provides information on the selected indicators as a pop-up message while the user can also select a subset of provinces or a subset of districts to focus on, using a simple drop-down list. Custom maps built by the user can be downloaded and printed.

The innovative portal uses data produced by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, as part of its Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Surveys (PSLM) as well as the Multiple Indicators Cluster Surveys (MICS) produced by the provincial Bureaus of Statistics, the official source revealed.

The indicators currently available in the portal include a range of demographic, health, education and employment statistics as well as access to key services like water, sanitation, electricity and gas. It also provides a number of gender parity indices at the district level.

An ‘Additional Resources’ section on the website provides information on the indicators included in the portal and other background material and reports. New material as well as new data and indicators will be added frequently.

Ehsaas is about the creation of a ‘welfare state’ by countering elite capture and leveraging 21st century tools such as using data and technology to create precision safety nets and promoting social welfare and poverty alleviation solutions.