PESHAWAR: Even though accountability was the rallying cry for the incumbent PTI government, it has decided to rollback its much-trumpeted provincial accountability watchdog.
In its first meeting of the new Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) cabinet on Wednesday, it decided to close down embattled K-P Ehtesab Commission.
The new cabinet had convened to discuss how they could implement the 100-day-plan as proposed in the election manifesto of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI).
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“The Ehtesab commission, it has been decided, will be closed down from today,” informed K-P government spokesperson Shaukat Yousufzai who briefed the media regarding the cabinet’s decisions after its meeting had concluded.
He was flanked by the K-P Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra. Jhagra had been part of the PTI’s think tank which had devised the 100-day-plan.
Yousufzai detailed that the K-P law department will be preparing a procedure to decide the fate of cases and references pending with the provincial accountability body.
“It did its job,” Yousufzai insisted, adding that the parallel body had been set up since the federal anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), was not answerable to it in the past.
“We had an institution (referring to the NAB) which was not in our reach so we established it [K-P Ehtesab Commission],” he said while explaining the decision to close the accountability body.
The government spokesperson said that instead of the ehtesab commission, they will be strengthening the K-P Anti-Corruption Establishment apart from empowering NAB.
Earlier while explaining the 100-day-plan, the finance minister said that while senior leaders of the party were acquainted with the plan, there was a need to share it and explain it to the provincial government including the cabinet and the bureaucracy — which will be ultimately implementing it.
“They all endorsed it [the plan] and resolved to strive for its implementation,” Jhagra said.
At this, Yousufzai said that the plan covers all the areas where the government needs to focus and work.
“Task forces will be established for the implementation of the plan in the departments and the chief minister will hold meetings every 10 days to review the progress in implementing the plan,” Yousufzai said.
Detailing the areas where the government needs to focus, he explained that these include working on improving the local government system — which he stressed was already better than in the rest of the country — but further reforms were required.
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The plan also includes a focus on technical education to impart skills to the youth, providing them with the capability of competing for jobs in the market.
“It also includes work in the health and education sectors which are already our priority,” the government spokesperson said, adding that monitoring cells will be established in the Communication and Works, and Irrigation departments to eliminate the ‘commission’ system.
“We would also work on police reforms and the law department along with the police will submit their recommendations to the cabinet which will be discussed,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2018.
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