ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved constitution of half a dozen taskforces and three committees to review and suggest reforms in different sectors in line with ruling party’s agenda for its first 100 days in power.
Some six newly appointed taskforces are aimed to suggest within next three-month a set of necessary reforms in civil laws, criminal procedure code, accountability laws, civil service and federal government restructuring, and ways and means to create 10 million jobs and 5 million housing units in the country.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan will himself assess progress of all these taskforces on a fortnightly basis. Taskforces will present workable reforms in three-month time,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said while briefing media about outcome of the third federal cabinet meeting that held at the PM office.
Moreover, the cabinet also formed three separate committees to expedite process of merger of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, necessary dialogue with opposition parties for the creation of south Punjab province, and review ongoing and future projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Nine-point agenda of the meeting also included transfers and postings in federal government and the cabinet approved appointment of Dr Muahmmad Suleman Khan as director-general Intelligence Bureau (IB), Mehr Khaliq Dad Lak as the national coordinator of National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), and Muhammad Jehanzaib as chairman of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
During the meeting that lasted over three hours, the cabinet also approved initiation of 10 billion tree plantation drive across the country. Under the plan 1.5 million saplings will be planted on September 2 under the theme ‘Plant for Pakistan’.
To a question, the information minister said incumbent government and military establishment were on same page. “Last government [of PML-N] used to claim that also. Let alone the same page, they were not even on same book,” he commented.
Chaudhry said four taskforces have been created to transform governance system in Pakistan.
“To make NAB laws more effective, it has been decided to introduce necessary amendments in accountability laws. A task force headed by Law Minister Farogh Naseem has been mandated the task to suggest such amendments,” he said, adding: “The government wants a fully autonomous anti-corruption watchdog to deal with the menace of corruption.”
Another taskforce will review civil laws and suggest reforms with specific reference to inheritance laws in a bid to ensure that women should be given their due rights in inheritance.
The taskforce will suggest amendments aimed to ensure speedy and fair disposal of all civil cases within one year and to clear the backlog of pending cases in civil courts. Similarly, another taskforce will look into criminal procedure code and suggest reforms.
“Pakistan stands at 103rd number among 115 countries when it comes to rule of law. It’s alarming. Even Afghanistan’s situation is better than Pakistan in this field,” Chaudhry said, adding that the previous government had promised that anti-terrorism courts will be made functional but it did not happen.
He said Nacta’s working and performance would also be reviewed.
“Governance reform is an important matter and civil service reforms is an integral part of it. PM’s adviser on reforms has been given task to suggest reforms in federal government and civil service.”
The minister said the taskforce would also oversee reforms in planning as a significant chunk of public money goes into Public Sector Development Programme.
Jobs, Housing & Plantation
Under the government’s economic growth plan, two separate taskforces have also been formed that will suggest ways and means to create 10 million jobs and five million housing units in next five years. “They have been asked to complete their planning and present a report in next 90 days.”
On the occasion, Adviser to PM on Climate Change Amin Aslam said the cabinet had also approved initiation of 10 billion tree plantation drive.
“It will formally be kicked off on September 2 and this day will be celebrated under the theme ‘Plant for Pakistan’. On September 2, 1.5 million saplings will be planted across the country and it will be provided to citizens free of cost. I will appeal all Pakistanis to take part in this campaign,” he said.
A committee comprising Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Khusro Bakhtiar has been formed to coordinate with political parties including the PML-N, PPP to develop consensus and to devise a workable plan for the creation of new province consisting of districts of South Punjab.
“Committee members have been asked to initiate dialogue process with political parties and present a report to PM. Similarly, a committee comprising K-P Governor, CM, Defense Minister and adviser to PM on establishment has been formed to remove obstacles and fast pace the process of Fata-KP merger.”
He said a third committee headed by Khusro Bakhtiar would review all the ongoing and future CPEC projects. “Projects worth US$ 28 billion are in progress under the CEPC, while US$46 billion are in the pipe line. It is necessary to review all the ongoing and pending EPEC projects. After reviewing the projects, committee will present its report to PM for final decision,” he said.
To a question, the information minister clarified that government had no plan to terminate services of contractual employees in government departments.