KARACHI: The Sindh Cabinet has resolved to oppose the privatisation of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Steel Mills and Lakhra Coal Power Plant.
The cabinet meeting held on Monday was presided over by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and began with a prayer for the recently deceased Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani and Asma Jahangir.
The CM said workers of Pakistan Steel Mills were starving due to non-payment of their salaries. The federal government deliberately turned the once profit-making organisation into a loss, he alleged, adding that the same has been the case with PIA. “We are very clear that the land of the Pakistan Steel Mills would automatically return to the provincial government if the mills are privatised,” said Shah, adding that the federal government would have to safeguard the interests of the workers of PIA, the Pakistan Steel Mills and Lakhra Coal Power Plant. The Sindh government would resist their privatisation, he said.
The cabinet unanimously authorised the chief minister to send this message on its behalf to the federal government.
The agenda of the cabinet included a draft of the Sindh Police (Transfer, Posting and Tenure) Rules, 2017, a draft law regarding public sector universities in Sindh, an amendment in the charter of Ziauddin University, the Sindh Coal Authority Rules 2017, Sindh Nooriabad gas fired power project, a revised amendment to the Sindh Mining Concession Rules 2002 and delegation of powers to determine the composition of mines committee. The agenda also included draft legislation regarding the Sindh Ruet-e-Hilal Act 2017, Sindh Quran (Printing, Recording and Disposal of Damaged or Shaheed and Sacred Auraqs) Act, 2018, amendment in the Law Officers (Conditions of Service) Rules, the Sindh Tourism Development Corporation Employees (Services) By-Laws, 2017, the Sindh Employees Social Security (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and regularisation of contract veterinary doctors under the district-wise veterinary service programme.
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The police rules were discussed in detail and the matter was deferred on the basis that the matter was subjudice as it was pending in the Supreme Court.
The cabinet discussed and approved the draft law on public sector universities in Sindh. Under the new draft law, deans, vice-chancellors and pro-vice-chancellors will be appointed by the chief minister, while the governor will remain the chancellor and confer honorary degrees. The appointment of registrars and controllers of examinations would be made by the syndicate on the recommendations of a selection committee. The cabinet approved the draft law and decided to send it to the standing committee for higher education.
The amendment in the charter of Ziauddin University was also approved.
The cabinet also approved the Sindh Coal Authority Rules, 2017. Its members were told that the Nooriabad power project was operating at full capacity and supplying 100 megawatts of energy to K-Electric. The cabinet, after a presentation by Energy Secretary Agha Wasif, approved amendments in the Sindh Nooriabad Power Company’s gas supply agreement.
The amendments were mainly technical, such as shifting the commercial operation date to December 31 and deleting the word ‘alternative fuel’. The amendments were made to meet the requirements of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority.
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The cabinet also discussed and approved a revised amendment in the Sindh Mining Concession Rules, 2002. The presentation was given by Mines and Minerals Secretary Shams Soomro. The cabinet was told that the Sindh Mining Concession Rules were framed in 2002 but there was a lack of clarity in the existing definition of the licensing authority. The licensing powers were given to the secretary while the minister was made the appellate authority.
Zakat, Usher and Religious Affairs Secretary Riaz Soomro told the cabinet about the legislation on Ruet-e-Hilal and said that in order to maintain unanimity on all religious occasions nationwide and regulate Ruet-e-Hilal arrangements, the federal government has prepared a draft law.
They have requested the provincial governments to pass a resolution thereby allowing the federal government to legislate on their behalf for Ruet-e-Hilal. The other provincial assemblies have already passed such resolutions, therefore he requested that the Sindh Assembly also pass the resolution. The cabinet approved the proposal and directed the zakat and religious affairs department to submit the resolution in the assembly.