PESHAWAR: The provincial cabinet on Thursday granted its consent to a proposed bill which will integrate Levies and Khasadar forces into the regular police force of the province.
Further, it has decided to set up juvenile courts in the province.
This was decided as the provincial cabinet met at the Civil Secretariat in Peshawar on Thursday with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair.
Addressing reporters after the cabinet meeting, K-P Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai said that the provincial cabinet had approved the K-P Special Police Officer (Regularisation of Police) Bill 2019. The bill will merge the Levies and Khasadar with the police force. Yousafzai, however, did not offer any explanation on what this will mean for the two bills passed in September 2019 which effectively gave these forces, which operate in the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas (Fata), under the control of the police department.
Talking about the flour crisis, Yousafzai dismissed it as a series of unfortunate events. He noted that pilferage of wheat from Sindh’s stocks, the subsequent arrangement by the federal government and then the ban on inter-provincial movement of wheat by the Punjab government led to the crisis even though the country has around 4.2 million tonnes of wheat and a further 0.3 million tonnes is expected to be imported soon.
Regarding the strike by the Naanbai association, the minister said the association is not ready to use local flour and prefers the fine flour from Punjab due to which the weight and prices fluctuate. Once the crisis ends, he said the Rs15 price for a 170 grammes-naan will be reconsidered.
Flanked by the Special Adviser to the Chief Minister on Merged Areas Ajmal Wazir, Yousafzai said that the provincial cabinet has also agreed to pay Rs472 million in pension to retired judges during the ongoing fiscal year of 2019-20.
The cabinet, though, postponed amendments to the Civil Procedure Court for three months.
To improve the state of investment in the mining sector, the information minister said that they had approved the establishment of a Mineral Investment Facilitation Authority.
Noting that legislation was required to prevent cases of child abuse and that strict penalties can eliminate such mindset, Yousafzai said that subjects relating to sexual assault against minors will be included in the curriculum. Further, he said that the establishment of juvenile courts under the Juvenile Act 2018, was approved to make the judicial system more efficient.
Elsewhere, the information minister said that they were doubling the grant for the Water Supply and Sanitation Services Company (WSSC) from Rs500 million to a billion rupees.
The establishment of an appellate tribunal for sales tax on services under the K-P Finance Act 2013, was also approved. Yousafzai said that Syed Anis Bukhari will be a member of the appellate tribunal on deputation basis for three years.
In compliance with a decision of the Peshawar High Court, he said that the provincial cabinet had approved awarding basic pay scale (BPS) grade 17 officers of the agriculture department a 33% selection grade.
The information minister said the cabinet had approved the necessary amendments for additional appointments in light of an agreement with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) for better repair, maintenance and operation of its two helicopters.
To grant a lease for the construction of a hotel in Swat, the chief minister constituted a committee headed by Senior Tourism Minister Atif Khan and including the law and finance ministers, advocate general and the K-P Procurement Regulatory Authority (K-PPRA) managing director.
The cabinet decided that the K-P Revenue Authority submit its annual report to the provincial government in the last three months of the financial year.
The provincial cabinet also approved funds to pay rent for six months for the consultant’s office established in the newly merged tribal districts (NMTDs) worth Rs3 million.
The provincial information minister further said the cabinet had decided to regularise all employees of the disaster management authority of the tribal districts to start considering them as employees of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority.
The cabinet meeting also approved amendments to K-P Control of Narcotics Substance Act 2019, to include strict measures and penalties for narcotics, especially ice (crystal methamphetamine).
CM on Gomal Zam Dam
Meanwhile, Mahmood on Thursday directed to ensure the construction of watercourses in Gomal Zam Dam Command Area within the stipulated period.
Presiding over a progress review meeting regarding the Gomal Zam Dam Project at the Chief Minister Secretariat in Peshawar, Mahmood further directed to plant trees along the canals to prevent soil erosion. By completing 462 watercourses at the dam will add around 0.2 million acres of agriculture land and, helping significantly increase agricultural production in the region.
He appreciated the concerned authorities for completing 105 watercourses.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2020.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ