ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) is likely to be convened shortly after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has approved holding of its meeting, according to a handout issued by the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC).

Claiming that no constitutional lapse took place with reference to the constitution of the CCI and holding of its meeting, as reported in Dawn, the handout issued on Saturday said the CCI, which was required to be constituted by July 5, had actually been formed on June 27 and a notification in this regard had also been issued. For unknown reasons the notification (No. 1(2)/2010) was made effective with retrospective effect from June 25.

The prime minister acts as chairman of the council and the four chief ministers of the provinces become its members by virtue of their offices. It also includes “three members from the federal government to be nominated by the prime minister from time to time.”

According to the notification, the prime minister has nominated federal ministers Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi (Sindh), Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch (Balochistan) and Sardar Muhammad Yousuf (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) as members of the CCI.

Interestingly, when contacted on July 11 to seek his viewpoint on the matter, Information Minister and official spokesman for the federal government Pervez Rashid had expressed his complete ignorance about the issue and said he would comment on it after discussing it with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The CCI is constituted under article 153 of the constitution “to formulate and regulate policies” on the subjects given in the second part of the federal legislative list. The main idea behind constitution of the CCI is to resolve the issues arising from time to time among the provinces or between the federation and the provinces.

The CCI has been made a powerful institution through the 18th Constitution Amendment Act and under article 154(3) the CCI is bound “to meet at least once in ninety (90) days”. The CCI is also “responsible” to submit annual report to both the houses of parliament.

The CCI has become more important after devolution of a number of subjects to the provinces after abolition of the concurrent list through the historic 18th Constitution Amendment Act.

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