The Punjab government has categorically stated it will not follow the federal government’s plans for two weekly holidays as a measure to conserve energy.
The proposal will now be forwarded to the Council of Common Interest (CCI) for approval. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will attend the CCI session, in which the final decision will be taken. Sharif seems unlikely at present to go ahead with the plan, as he claims he was not consulted by the cabinet when the initial plan was formed.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan was adamant that the Punjab government would not obey the cabinet decision. He said that the CCI was the correct forum in which to discuss province-related issues, not the federal cabinet.
It has also been reported that the government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is unsure about the cabinet’s decision. Awami National Party leader Haji Adeel said that the two holiday plan will not help conserve energy and that markets should be allowed to stay open till 10pm. Many voices from the Karachi business community have also criticised the decision. According to the 18th amendment to the constitution, provinces are not bound to follow every cabinet decision.
The federal cabinet on Wednesday proposed two holidays a week in order to conserve energy. The plan, recommended by the High Power Committee on Energy headed by Federal Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, was approved by the cabinet unanimously.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2011.