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Govt chastised for not convening CCI meeting

14 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People's Party-led opposition senators on Friday staged a walkout against the government's failure to hold the Council of Common Interests (CCI) meeting in the stipulated time period of 90 days and termed it a violation of the constitution.

Speaking on a point of order, PPP leader Mian Raza Rabbani said that after the 18th Amendment, it is mandatory that the government call a CCI meeting at least once every 90 days to resolve inter-provincial matters. But despite passage of 135 days the government has not called a meeting of the Council, he pointed out. "Not calling the meeting of the Council is not an issue rather it reflects the centralised mindset and sabotage of the historic devolution process initiated by the PPP-led coalition government," Rabbani contended.

He said the government was dealing with issues of national importance by issuing SROs and ordinances. The senator said the CCI had a vital role in the passage of 18th Amendment. Its last meeting was held on July 31, 2012 and since then not a single meeting has been held which, according to him, is totally against the constitution. Leader of the House, Raja Zafarul Haq told the House that the government is making a proper agenda for the next meeting of the CCI and assured it will be called soon. But Mian Raza Rabbani said the CCI was envisaged as a parallel cabinet.

Earlier, during the question-hour, the senators questioned the constitutional status of establishment of health and education ministries in different names at the federal level. Rabbani informed the House that these two ministers were created during the PPP's tenure and he had raised this issue at the time too. He said both health and education are devolved subjects and there is no justification for establishment of these two ministries in different names at the federal level. "Both these ministers are unconstitutional," he said.

PML-N's Senator Jafar Iqbal was of the view that yes both these are devolved ministries but they are required to bring uniformity across the country. He said there are several international agreements and programmes in the education and health sectors, and the donors want to contact the federal government instead of provinces, separately. Raja Zafarul Haq pleaded that this matter be resolved once and for all. The Senate chairman referred this matter to the relevant parliamentary committee.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Health and Regulations Saira Afzal Tarar told the Upper House that several irregularities were observed in the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) during the last five years. "Such irregularities result in mushroom growth of medical and dental colleges across the country," she said. In order to check these irregularities, the minister said a proper enquiry has been ordered, saying that it will be completed soon.

Minister of State for Interior Baleeghur Rehman told the House that 119 Islamabad police officials have been suspended for involvement in dubious activities in the federal capital. Replying to a calling attention notice, the minister said cases have been registered against the accused policemen.


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