Islamabad, 23 November 2021 (TDI): Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan chaired the first Apex Committee Meeting of the Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC), a recent initiative from Pakistan to provide support to Afghanistan in these trying times.
In its first convened Apex meeting on Tuesday 22nd November, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tarin, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, National Security Adviser Dr. Moeed Yusuf along with other senior civil and military officers were in attendance.
Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI approves Humanitarian Assistance Package for Afghanistan.
The Prime Minister visited the newly established Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) today where he chaired the first Apex Committee meeting of AICC. pic.twitter.com/OunjqOp86F
— Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) November 22, 2021
The Prime Minister was welcomed by Dr. Moeed Yusuf, who is the convener of the AICC. The highlight of the meeting was the approval of the Humanitarian Assistance Package for Afghanistan by the PM, which aims to ‘maximize facilitation for Afghans by all the provincial ministries’.
It was a pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister at the Afghanistan Coordination Cell set up to coordinate a whole of government approach for ensuring effective humanitarian support, facilitating in border management issues, etc. pic.twitter.com/9hiB5Delhi
— Moeed W. Yusuf (@YusufMoeed) November 22, 2021
The Prime Minister’s office made a series of announcements post the meeting. The Prime Minister ordered the immediate shipment of in-kind humanitarian assistance worth Rs. 5 billion, comprising of food commodities like 50,000 MT of wheat, emergency medical supplies, and winter shelters among others .
Another 50000 MT of wheat being sent from India to Afghanistan will be allowed passage from Pakistan.
Free COVID vaccination of all land-bound Afghans entering Pakistan would continue being administered, the program first started on the 13th of November. To facilitate trade from Afghanistan, the Prime Minister has approved the reduction of in-principle tariff and sales tax on key Afghan imports to Pakistan.
Furthermore, the Pakistani Authorities would help in arranging the return of Afghan patients stuck in India back to Afghanistan.
Decisions regarding border patrol and management included orders by the Premier to further enhance border staff capacity, to restart Peshawar- Jalalabad bus service, and to ensure that no arbitrary closure of the border takes place hindering trade activities. The visa-issuance duration has also been relaxed to be granted within three weeks at the most.
Islamabad is also gearing up to welcome Afghan health officials this week and work on areas of strengthening the Afghan Health Sector.
Dr. Moeed gave a detailed briefing on the current socio-economic and military situation of Afghanistan to the attendees and the efforts made by the AICC to conduct a coordinated national effort of humanitarian assistance for the Afghans. The AICC’s efforts were lauded by the Prime Minister Khan and he showed his satisfaction. The NSA was instructed by the PM to make a visit to Afghanistan, hold delegation-level meetings to gauge agreements in areas where capacity-building efforts can be concerted.
The members of the meeting along with the reiterated their support for a peaceful Afghanistan and showed their concern about the alarming humanitarian situation in the country. The Prime Minister emphasized that the international community must not ignore the collective responsibility to support Afghanistan and its brave people.