| GEO Pakistan|
| 18th Amendment indicative of people’s wishes: PM|
| Updated at: 2048 PST, Thursday, June 17, 2010|
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Thursday said that the 18th Constitutional Amendment is indicative of the wishes of the people of country, which now needs to be translated into reality at the earliest.
As required under clause 9 of Article 270 AA, he said, the Government has set up an Implementation Commission under Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, to consider and recommend steps in this regard.
The Prime Minister was chairing a meeting to review the implementation status of 18th Amendment with focus on functions and responsibilities to be devolved to the provinces. The meeting was held here at PM's House.
The Prime Minister said that the Implementation Commission has been empowered to make rules or pass such directions, order or require the making of amendments to regulations etc., which may be necessary to achieve the objectives of clause 8 of Article 270 (AA)of the Constitution.
He reiterated that the Federal Government would extend full cooperation and support to the Implementation Commission which has already done a commendable job in identifying the areas and steps required to be taken to move forward.
The Prime Minister directed that Ministries and Departments whose responsibilities are to be devolved should sift out the matters/issues to be referred to the Council of Common Interest (CCI). He further said that on any major policy formulation,if any by these Ministries/Organizations, be discussed with the Implementation Commission and referred to the CCI.
The assets and the funds of the Ministries and Divisions to be devolved be properly handled and no action in this regard be taken without consultation with the Implementation Commission, he said.
Expressing the confidence that the Commission would work for completing the task of devolution in time i.e.30th June, 2011, the Prime Minister said the land mark 18th Constitutional Amendment was passed unanimously with the support of all the political parties in the Parliament and expressed confidence the same spirit would bedemonstrated in the implementation of the Amendments.
He said that as the concurrent list has been deleted, the provinces would now enjoy greater autonomy in managing their resources.
Mentioning the NFC Award, the Prime Minister noted that the Provincial Government's share in the divisible pool has already been increased with the transfer of certain business of the Federal Government to the Provincial Governments through abolishment of the concurrent list.
The Prime Minister said that Provinces must work for strengthening their administrative machinery, which would be assuming higher role in the near future. Serious and concerted efforts, he said, are required both from the Federation and the Provinces to complete the transition in a smooth manner.
He said that certain laws, rules and regulations may require changes due to this transition, it is, therefore, expected that the Provincial Governments would work closely with the Implementation Commission. He asked the Chief Ministers to ensure that the transition takes place swiftly and within given timeframe.
The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the Commission would give a roadmap along with definite time-lines for implementation of the task given to it keeping in view the sensitivities involved. He said that the Parliament will be constantly updated on the status of the implementation after every two months.
The Chairman of the Implementation Commission of 18thAmendment Senator Mian Raza Rabbani while briefing the meeting informed that the Commission has already held three detailed meetings on May 25, 28 and June 8, during which the areas of focus have been identified.
He further apprised that the Inter-Provincial Coordination Division of the Federal Government, which acts as the Secretariat for Inter Provincial matters, has been designated as Secretariat of the CCI and the Implementation Commission also.
He said that this would facilitate in handling all these connected matters in a coordinated manner. He said that Secretaries of the Ministries/Divisions proposed for devolution along with Secretary, IPC Division & Secretaries of the main coordinating agencies i.e. Cabinet, Establishment, Finance and Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Divisions will closely liaison with the Implementation Commission.
The Chairman of the Implementation Commission informed the meeting that rules and procedures of the Implementation Commission as well as for CCI have been prepared and sent to the Law Division for vetting before submission to the Prime Minister and CCI for approval.
The role of CCI, he added, will be increased manifold during the process of implementation of 18th amendment and would be required to meet once every month till July 2011.
All the Chief Ministers appreciated the work done by the Implementation Commission on 18th Amendment under Senator Mian Raza Rabbani and assured every possible cooperation for timely completion of the implementation process.
They informed that as per the directive, the provincial governments had set up the provincial implementation cells and completed the necessary homework.
All the Chief Ministers unanimously opined that the NFC had not catered for the additional responsibilities being bestowed upon the provinces through devolution under the 18th Amendment and therefore the funds and assets of the Ministries and Divisions to be devolved may also be transferred to the provinces.
The meeting was also attended by all the Members of the Implementation Commission of the Parliament, Secretary Cabinet Division, Secretary Establishment Division, as well as the Chief Secretaries of the four provinces. The Inter Provincial Coordination Division was represented by the Acting Secretary.