ISLAMABAD: Despite announcing devolution of the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (Safron) in the very second cabinet meeting, the government has appointed Shehryar Afridi as minister of state for Safron.
The appointment of Mr Afridi, who was earlier minister of state for interior, as Safron minister was notified by the Prime Minister Office on Friday.
A member of the federal cabinet told Dawn on condition of anonymity that it had been decided in the second cabinet meeting that the Safron ministry would be devolved to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa because after the merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with KP, there was no need of this ministry at the federal level. He, however, said he was unaware whether the Safron ministry had technically been devolved or not.
Former information ministry Fawad Chaudhry had said in September last year that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had decided to abolish the Safron ministry following the merger of Fata with KP. “The provincial ministers will take care of Fata and, therefore, the government is abolishing Safron ministry,” he had said.
The main responsibilities of the Safron ministry are related to the tribal areas. A source said the Safron ministry had lost its importance after the 25th Constitution Amendment passed by parliament in 2018 because all important subjects being dealt with by the ministry had been devolved to KP.
It has also been learnt that Fata students’ scholarship and affairs of Khasadar Force and Levies Force come under the Safron ministry, but all these would eventually be transferred to the KP government.
Prime Minister Imran Khan met Fata parliamentarians several times in the recent past and assured them of timely shifting Fata-related powers to KP.
Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2019