ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Inter-Provincial Coordi­nation (IPC) in its Oct 16 meeting is set to take up the longstanding issue of delay in the establishment of a permanent secretariat for the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

A four-point agenda issued for the meeting of the committee headed by Senator Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasar of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) says that the members will hold “further discussion on the calling attention notice moved by Senator Raza Rabbani regarding formation and functioning of a separate secretariat of the CCI”, the issue that has been lingering on for many years.

Mr Rabbani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as a chairman of the Senate had given a ruling asking the then PML-N government to immediately set up a permanent secretariat for the CCI as given in the constitution.

However, the PML-N government kept on delaying the matter on one pretext or the other and its five-year tenure ended without any progress, forcing Mr Rabbani to again raise the matter as a senator through a calling attention notice in December last year.

Deputy Chairman of the Senate Saleem Mandviwala referred the matter to the committee upon Mr Rabbani’s insistence when he did not get a response from the government due to the absence of Federal Minister for IPC Dr Fehmida Mirza, who could not attend the sitting on medical ground.

Mr Rabbani had regretted failure of the successive governments in setting up the CCI secretariat and termed it an attempt to “sabotage and circumvent the constitution”.

He had stated that a lot of work had already been done by various committees and the IPC committee in one of its reports had also suggested ways and means for the setting up of the CCI Secretariat and to make it functional.

The federal cabinet of the then PM Sharif on Dec 15, 2016, had deci­ded in principle to establish the CCI secretariat. Later, the then federal minister for IPC Riaz Hussain Pirzada had stated that there was no delay on the part of his ministry and that the PM Office had kept the matter pending. He also declared that there was no problem regarding space for the secretariat and the CCI offices could be set up in a new government building.

The government is bound by Article 154(3) of the Constitution to set up a permanent secretariat of the CCI.

Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2019