The chief minister on Tuesday appointed two special assistants and 32 MPAs as parliamentary secretaries, but insisted they would not be part of the provincial cabinet.
A Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker, who is among the 32 parliamentary secretaries, said about six members were unhappy over being left out in appointments of advisors, specials assistants and District Development Advisory Committees chairmen. He said they had stopped attending party meetings to voice their reservations. This move was an effort to prevent a forward bloc being made in the government.
Two notifications on the new inductions were issued by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa administration department on Tuesday. Previously the cabinet had 14 ministers, five advisors and five special assistants.
Parliamentary secretaries will represent different government departments in the provincial assembly in case of absence of concerned ministers during assembly sessions.
The new parliamentary secretaries are MPAs Javed Nasim, Arif Yousuf, Fazal Elahi, Mehmood Jan, Arbab Jehandad Khan, Khaliqur Rehman, Muhammad Idrees, Sultan Muhammad Khan, Arshad Ali, Muhammad Arif, Muhammad Zahid Durrani, Ubaidullah Mayar, Tufail Anum, Muhammad Ali Tarakai, Gohar Nawaz Khan, Javed Akbar Khan, Azizullah, Amjad Ali, Muhibullah Khan, Abdul Munim, Muhammad Ali, Saeed Gul, Naseem Hayat, Nadia Sher, Aisha Naeem, Nargas, Dina Naz, Bibi Fozia, Rashida Riffat, Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli, Meraj Hamayun Khan and Khatoon Bibi.
The notification on the special assistants read that the governor on the advice of the chief minister has appointed Suran Singh, an MPA on a reserved seat for minorities, and MPA Abdul Karim from PK-34 Swabi as special assistants to the chief minister with immediate effect.
Chief Minister’s Spokesperson Shiraz Paracha, however, defended the appointments and said they were in accordance with rules.
Paracha denied these secretaries will be members of the cabinet and said will only assist ministers and answer questions in the house in their absence.
It is not yet clear what financial benefits the new members will have.
Awami National Party‘s (ANP) parliamentary leader in K-P Assembly Sardar Hussain Babak termed the appointment of parliamentary secretaries ‘horse-trading’ on part of the PTI coalition government.
Babak said the government wants to oblige its lawmakers by making such appointments. Under the 18th Amendment, the cabinet should not exceed 11%.
The ceiling on the number of ministers was aimed at reducing expenditures of an inflated cabinet, but the current cabinet has now become the largest in the history of the province.
“We will raise this issue in the upcoming session of the assembly, which is scheduled for September 10,” said Babak while questioning the rationale of the decision.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2013.