Islamabad: The government has decided in principle to promote the use of electric vehicles in the country for warding off environmental hazards and reduction in oil consumption that involves foreign exchange on its import.
A comprehensive policy is being framed in this regard. The decision was taken at a high echelon meeting on climate change on Friday here at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
According to the PMO, this will not only help cut the oil imports, but also address environmental issues. Imran Khan has directed the Climate Change Ministry to finalise the electric vehicle policy in the next two weeks and present it before the cabinet for approval.
The prime minister was informed that the main reason of environmental pollution in Punjab is the smoke emitted by vehicles. Therefore, it is important to promote electric vehicles in the country. This will not only help cut oil imports, but also address environmental issues.
The prime minister was also informed about the steps taken to combat smog in Punjab and the policy being formed on it. The premier was informed about the impact of climate change in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
Imran Khan also directed coordination amongst the federal and provincial institutions to respond effectively to any flood-like situation in the summer season. The meeting was informed that a ban will be imposed on the use of plastic bags in the federal capital territory from August 14 this year. Rules and regulations to this effect have already been framed. Progress made so far on the ten billion tree plantation campaign was also discussed during the meeting.
Adviser to PM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam said 30 percent of the vehicle system in the country would be converted to electric cars by the year 2030. He said the Electrical Vehicle Policy to this effect would be devised within 15 days under the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The adviser said this step would be helpful in bringing significant reduction in the import of oil. He said the electric vehicles will also improve the environment and help deal with the challenge of smog.
He said the government was focused on making Pakistan an exporter of electric vehicles within the period of five years. He said vehicle examination system is also being introduced in the transport sector to check condition of vehicles.
Amin Aslam said 10 billion tree tsunami is the project of Pakistan's bright future. He said the project is also receiving appreciation from the world's leading institutions.
Meanwhile, terming Thar coal project as a venture of national interest, the prime minister vowed to make it successful and announced that the federal government will extend every possible assistance to the Sindh government to attain the motive.
Imran Khan gave the assurance while responding to requests of various companies at a high-level meeting about reserves of Thar coal. The companies were seeking the federal government's help regarding transportation, provision of water, and establishment of power transmission line.
The prime minister was briefed about various projects of public welfare, including health, education, skill development of local people and afforestation in Thar, being completed under Thar Foundation. The Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company also briefed him about mining in Thar. He was apprised that first phase of Block-II of Thar Coal has been completed, while work on second phase is underway. Power plants are being set up to fulfil energy requirements of the country by utilising Thar coal in various phases. Imran Khan was briefed that 5,000 megawatts electricity can be produced from Block-II by 2025 for next 50 years. He was informed that Thar coal is the seventh largest reserves in the world which can be used for producing 100,000MW electricity for next two centuries. Coal reserves in Thar are estimated as 175 billion tons, which is equal to 50 billion barrels of oil and 2,000 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan expressed gratitude to Crown Prince of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed for releasing 572 Pakistani prisoners.
In a statement, the prime minister said Pakistan values this gesture of the UAE government. He said this step of the UAE government will prove helpful in further strengthening the fraternal ties between the two countries.
In a tweet, on behalf of Pakistani people and government, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan also expressed gratitude to the crown prince for releasing 572 Pakistani prisoners.
"This is the real leadership, which thinks of other's children, instead of own," she emphasised.
Meanwhile, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM Office and discussed various development projects and overall situation of the province.