Devolution bottlenecks: Shahbaz calls for convening CCI meeting ‘immediately’

The Punjab chief minister says serious issues still ‘unresolved’.

Abdul Manan June 28, 2011


The Punjab government expressed on Monday “serious reservations” over the pace of devolution process and called for “immediately convening” a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

In a letter sent by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to Prime Minister Gilani, a copy of which was obtained by The Express Tribune, Sharif said that “serious issues” still remained unresolved and it “is crucial that (they) are…resolved at the CCI (level)” before discussing them in the federal Cabinet.

The Punjab Chief Minister stressed the need for completing the”third and last phase of devolution as envisaged in the 18the Constitutional Amendment” before June 30.

Expressing apprehensions over the federal government’s delaying tactics in handing over some of the federal ministries and departments to the province, the chief minister said that the Punjab government “believes that some of the matters pertaining to the…last phase (of the devolution) process…are on the agenda of a reported meeting of the federal cabinet scheduled to be held on June 28”.

Highlighting the abolishment of the concurrent legislative list from the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution, Shahbaz Sharif said that the “subjects therein stand constitutionally devolved to the provinces”.

“The administrative devolution of these subjects…is to be completed by June 30 for which the implementation commission has been given a constitutional mandate”.

“Two phases of devolution have been completed, with the devolution of five ministries in each phase. The devolution of the remaining subjects is to be completed…by June 30,” the letter stated.

The letter stated that Punjab province has “serious reservations regarding the pace and manner in which the third phase is being implemented, especially (some units) relating to the ministries of health (Sheikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore), environment (hunting areas), labour and Manpower (EOBI and WWF), food and agriculture, the Evacuee Trust Property Board and the Pakistan Sports Board”.

The letter further stated that since provinces are key constitutional stakeholders in the process of devolution and the aforesaid serious issues still remain unresolved, it is crucial that all these contentious issues are first deliberated and resolved at the forum of CCI before these are taken to any Federal Cabinet meeting to be held for the purpose.

“I would, therefore, request that a meeting of the CCI may immediately be convened,” the letter concluded.

However PM media cell in response to the letter by Sharif, Gilani has said that the devolution process was “near completion” and a “special cabinet meeting has been called on June 28”.

“Regarding the few issues raised by the Punjab chief minister, the prime minister said that they would be resolved with consensus of the provinces at an appropriate forum,” the media cell stated.

Punjab government spokesperson Senator Pervaiz Rashid said that PPP led federal government did not want to hand over the above mentioned ministries to provinces as they have been occupied by PML-Q ministers. He said that if Gilani handed over these ministries to the province, “his alliance with the PML-Q will be in danger”.

The sources in Punjab government said that ministries which had earlier been devolved to the provinces did not have “a lot of revenue and funds, instead they have lot of human resource”.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2011.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

Most Read