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PESHAWAR: The caretaker government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Tuesday formed a task force to address legal challenges to Fata’s merger with the province.

The decision was made during a cabinet meeting chaired by caretaker Chief Minister retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan, said an official statement here.

Headed by the chief minister, the task force will have two ministers and additional chief secretary from the tribal areas merged with the province.

CM tells cabinet panel to fast-track mainstreaming of tribal areas

It will grasp the problems of merged areas, identify legal anomalies emerging out of the merger, and find their suitable solution for the smooth transition in the backdrop of merger.

The mainstreaming of tribal areas is the ultimate goal and the task force will fast-track financial and administrative measures in tribal areas and confidence-building of the locals.

Addressing the cabinet, the chief minister said the merger had brought along legal and administrative challenges required for the speedy mainstreaming of the tribal areas and that he had made up his mind to facilitate the merger with a multipronged approach.

He said he had talked to the federal finance minister for early transfer of resources both of the province and the planned money for the development and mainstreaming of newly merged areas with the province.

“The people of the tribal areas suffered heavily. They sacrificed everything and the armed forces had a lion’s share in the sacrifices and the struggle in the fight against militancy,” he said.

Retired Justice Dost Mohammad said the emerging situation necessitated comprehensive administrative measures and the caretaker set up would go whole hog to take administrative measures required for the timely, peaceful and transparent conduct of elections, ensuring quality governance and improved security situation in the province.

“Good governance requires implementation on the decisions adding that there are three dimensions to good governance that included the correct information to plan a timely response followed by corrective measures and delivery,” he said.

The CM said the government would ensure that the governance structure has the required level of efficient delivery in all spheres.

The meeting also took a number of decisions for the peaceful and transparent holding of the upcoming general elections.

It decided to improve the level of administrative and social justice in the province. The cabinet also agreed to introduce a policy of reward and punishment for improving the tax collection.

The cabinet was briefed about the fiscal space of the province, the four months budgetary proposals, the level of preparedness for the upcoming elections, the administrative steps required for good governance and creating a congenial environment for efficient delivery and improving administrative measures in order to give relief to the people and facilitate the peaceful and transparent conduct of general elections.

Retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan said he had ordered the closure of play landand swingsin the parks following an incident in Abbottabad before linking their opening to the NOC by the respective deputy commissioners.

“There are reports that the orders have not been implemented in letter and spirit,” he said, adding that the deputy commissioners should get a feedback from the consultants after examination of the fitness of these play lands and swings etc.

The decisions for good governance should be put on ground, he said.

The CM called upon the provincial administration to keep him informed about the steps being taken for the general elections and specially the security related issues in order to take prompt actions.

He asked participants to take all-out efforts for creating conducive environment required for the smooth and transparent elections in the province.

Retired Justice Dost Mohammad asked administrative secretaries to be responsive to the administrative and social justice yardsticks, the prerequisites for good governance.

“They (secretaries) should discourage leniency and dereliction from duty. The government machinery should be all time responsive to the required measures,” he said.

He said the bureaucracy had a dominant role in the overall delivery.

“We are all responsive and accountable to the people in one capacity or the other therefore we should understand the level of our responsibilities to the people.”

The CM said it should be out there to discharge responsibilities without any expediency. “By doing so the level of governance and delivery will improve automatically.”

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2018