ISLAMABAD: The government on Saturday conferred the status of federal minister on Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who heads the special committee of the National Assembly on Kashmir.

Benazir Income Support Progra­mme (BISP) chairperson Marvi Memon has been made the minister of state.

According to separate notifications, the Cabinet Division said the prime minister granted the status of federal minister to MNA/chairman Special Committee of the National Assembly on Kashmir and minister of state to BISP chairperson Marvi Memon, exercising powers conferred by Rule 15(1) (g) read with Serial No.1A of Schedule-VA of the Rules of Business, 1973.

Many wonder as to what necessitated issuance of fresh notification for grant of ministerial status to Maulana Fazl, who was given the same status in May 2014 — almost a month after ministers belonging to his party had tendered resignations over differences with the ruling PML-N.

He had been elected chairman of the Kashmir committee of the National Assembly in 2008 to become the first lawmaker to be elected chairman of a house committee of the new National Assembly.

His election was part of a power-sharing deal under which the JUI-F, which had one minister in the federal cabinet, got two more ministries and a post of parliamentary secretary.

Marvi Memon served as member of parliament for the first time from March 2008 to June 2011 as a PML-Q MNA. She was a member of the parliamentary committees on Environment, Information Technology, and Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan. Her groundbreaking legislation on acid crime and Pakistan’s first Research Institute for Parliamentarians (PIPS) led her to be the subject of Pakistan’s first Oscar winning documentary.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2017