ISLAMABAD: The Senate Committee on Cabinet Secretariat will take up on Feb 6 the issue of purported non-observance of provincial job quotas in the federal government services and grievances of Sindh and Balochistan in this regard.
According to the meeting’s agenda issued by the Senate Secretariat, the committee headed by Talha Mehmood of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, besides discussing the issue of job quotas, will also receive a detailed briefing from the secretary of the Petroleum Division on the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess, ongoing loadshedding in the country, new gas connection policy and the performance of the Complaint Cell.
The committee will also receive a briefing from the chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority on the existing working mechanism of the authority.
The Senate has been witnessing protests and even walkouts from the members belonging to less populous provinces, particularly those from Balochistan, on the issue of “non-observance” of the provincial job quotas in the federal government services for about two decades.
Committee will also receive briefing on gas cess, loadshedding, new gas connection policy
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had referred the matter to the cabinet secretariat committee in September last year when Dr Sikandar Mandhro of the Pakistan Peoples Party and Mohammad Akram of the National Party raised the issue on the floor of the house.
While speaking on a point of public importance, Dr Mandhro quoted the Statistics Bulletin of the Establishment Division, which stated that out of 1,137,843 sanctioned posts in the federal services, including corporations and autonomous bodies, 966,606 had been filled. He said that according to the Constitution, Punjab and Islamabad had 50 per cent quota, followed by Sindh (19pc), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (11.5pc) and Balochistan (6pc).
He alleged that some provinces had got more than their share, whereas others had been ignored. Quoting Article 38(g) of the Constitution, he had stated that “the state shall ensure that the shares of the provinces in all federal services, including autonomous bodies and corporations established by, or under the control of, the federal government, shall be secured and any omission in the allocation of the shares of the provinces in the past shall be rectified”.
Dr Mandhro said that the injustice committed with the provinces in the past should be rectified. He alleged that at present Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had 6,496 and 87,296 more jobs, respectively, than their allocated constitutional share. On the other hand, he alleged, Balochistan and Sindh were facing a shortage of 17,270 and 17,473 posts, respectively.
Later, Mohammad Akram through a calling attention notice also drew the attention of the house to “17,270 vacant posts of Balochistan”.
He regretted that Balochistan had been ignored both by the military and democratic governments in the past. He said that according to a report, some 40,000 people of Balochistan were employed in the federal government departments, adding that he had doubts about this figure as most of these posts had been occupied by the people having fake domicile of the province. He also alleged that the people of Balochistan were not being accommodated in foreign services.
He stressed the need for allocating jobs in accordance with the provincial quota and called for their district-wise distribution.
Responding to the calling attention notice, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan had refuted the claim that 17,270 posts of Balochistan were lying vacant. He then explained that the quota for Balochistan had been increased from 3pc to 6pc during the military regime of Gen Pervez Musharraf in February 2007. He said that 4.36pc of the 6pc allotted quota had already been filled. He said that 13,118 posts had been identified as vacan, out of which 9,023 had already been filled and 4,095 posts were still lying vacant.
The chairman referred the matter to the committee when the senators from Balochistan objected to the figures presented by the minister.
The same Senate committee had previously discussed the matter in December last year in which Establishment Division Secretary Ijaz Munir had also endorsed the minister’s viewpoint. The committee members, however, had spent most of the time in discussion on the poor results of the examination conducted by the Federal Public Service Commission.
During another meeting of the Senate Functional Committee on Government Assurances in the same month, the parliamentary affairs minister had given the assurance that the government would soon move a constitutional amendment to ensure appointment of government officers/officials as per the provincial quota for which they would try to muster support of all political parties.
Under Article 27 of the 1973 Constitution, the quotas for the provinces were fixed for 40 years, and that period ended in 2013. However, soon after coming to power, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government had decided to extend the quota system for another 20 years and introduced a bill in parliament for the purpose.
The bill, however, could not become a law over the next five years.
Published in Dawn, February 4th , 2019