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Health subjects transferred from cabinet division

May 23, 2013

ISLAMABAD, May 22: The caretaker government has shifted a number of federal health-related subjects, which had been devolved because of the 18th constitutional amendment, from the cabinet division to the Ministry of National Health Services Regulations and Coordination.

According to the details shared by an official, all vertical vaccination programmes which were being managed by the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination had been shifted to the regulations ministry on May 6.

“The caretaker government has shifted the expanded programme on immunisation to the ministry of health regulations and has also changed its name,” he maintained.

“How can you shift one health subject, for which the IPC ministry had a mandate to coordinate with provinces, to another ministry?” he questioned.

The official said the division of the departments and the federal subject had been decided by a constitutional committee headed by Mian Raza Rabbani, but this has been shifted by the caretaker premier in one go.

He said the Federal Medical and Dental College, which was supposed to work under the Capital Administration and Development Division, was also shifted to the regulations division.

Likewise, the caretaker government had shifted the National Institute of Health to the regulations division.

NIH and FM&DC were earlier working under the administrative control of the cabinet division.

Obaid Abbasi, a high court lawyer, while talking to Dawn said, “According to the 18th constitutional amendment, health is devolved and this subject cannot be given a national status. Besides, the caretaker government has no political mandate to shift institutions from one ministry to another.”

He maintained that shifting EPI and NIH was a policy decision, which could not be taken by the caretaker government, adding that, “this decision is against the spirit of the 18th amendment.”

When approached, Secretary CAD Shafqat Naghmi said.

“As per the 18th constitutional committee’s decision, it was decided in April 2011 that all federal health-related subjects should rest with the ministry of CAD.”

“However, the interest of some people led to the strange distribution of departments, and the health chapter at the federal level has been disturbed among different ministries,” he said.

He added that the caretaker government had no mandate to shift departments such as FM&DC from the cabinet division, as it was the job of the future government.

Mr Naghmi said, “Caretaker minister for CAD, Dr Younas Soomro, had taken up the matter in the cabinet division but no one listened to him. He was told that the prime minister had already taken the decision in this regard.”

Despite multiple attempts, no official of the National Health Services Regulations and Coordination was available to clarify the ministry’s position on the matter.

Similarly, the caretaker minister for regulations, Shehzada Jamal, and the spokesman of the office of the prime minister, Shafqat Jalil, were unavailable for comments.