PESHAWAR: After much deliberations, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Wednesday approved stipend for over 20,000 prayer leaders who had qualified under the prescribed criteria.
In a meeting of the provincial cabinet on Wednesday, chaired by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, the Auqaf department said that it had received documents from 20,699 pesh imams (prayer leaders) of Jamia mosques.
The cabinet subsequently approved the stipend.
The chief minister further directed to open the process for accumulating data about pesh imams who fulfilled the government’s set criteria. Moreover, he directed that payment of these stipends should start from the first week of the coming month (March).
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To ensure this, the finance and Auqaf departments were directed to sit together and ensure a smooth and easy process for facilitating pesh imams throughout the province.
Khattak further directed to accelerate the process of a grant for the High Court Bar Council as per established procedure, adding that all such announcements should be implemented in letter and spirit.
In a surprising move, Khattak directed that all provincial lawmakers should be officially told to formally inaugurate the schools which have been completed, including those which have been completed under the standardisation and other schemes in their relevant constituencies and directed the relevant quarters to facilitate the process for the functionalisation of these facilities for the benefit of people.
The cabinet also approved the appointment of Aqal Badshah. The former additional secretary of law will now take up the mantle of the provincial ombudsman.
The provincial cabinet also agreed to approve duty exemptions for imported forest wood provided they are imported via a seaport.
Khattak hoped that this decision will help protect and conserve forests.
The cabinet also endorsed the agreement between the local government department and the British Council for the training elected representatives of different districts.
The chief minister also directed to strictly follow and implement the two per cent quota for employing those differently abled and linking it to the provincial budget.
The cabinet also approved an amendment bill for the appointment of law officers.
It also approved amendments to the National Disaster Management Act 2010. Earlier, the law stipulated that in the event of a natural disaster, the NDMA and the relief departments had to discharge similar duties. Moreover, it empowered the relief department to declare an entire district or the whole province as a calamity-hit area and also to address natural disasters and carry out emergency and relief activities.
The cabinet also approved the draft policy prepared for the project management and reforms unit of the Chief Secretary Office to settle litigation cases of the provincial employees and officers of different departments.
Under the policy, there will be committees in all departments which would review the litigations in different courts at the district level. The provincial committee will review them at the departmental committee level.
Reports of these committees would be compiled and sent to the chief secretary. Under the policy, these litigations would be settled down and the litigation sections would be made more dynamic and focused.
The provincial cabinet also approved the rules 2018 for the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Journalists Welfare Endowment Fund which will replace the 2014 Endowment Fund Act.
Under the new arrangement, effective steps would be taken for the welfare of journalists and the process of providing financial help to the deserving journalists would be made more transparent.
The provincial cabinet also approved the establishment of K-P Boilers and Pressure Whistle Board in the province. The seven-member board would be headed by Industries secretary.
The provincial cabinet also agreed to amend the Hotel and Restaurant Act 1976 and the travelling agencies act 1976.
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The cabinet also approved proposed changes to the Pakistan Prisons Rules 1985 by the Law Department. After the approval from the provincial cabinet, these rules would stand as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Prisons Rules 2018.
In the rules, the deputy commissioner has been empowered to bail out prisoners for 24 hours.
This would facilitate the prisoners to participate in funerals or key family events.
Previously this power rested with the Home secretary home and was a time-consuming process.
The provincial cabinet also approved rules for allotting official residential accommodation in the light of a verdict from the High Court.’
The newly approved rules would make the whole exercise of allotment of residential accommodation to the officers and officials transparent and merit-based.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2018.