LAHORE: The cabinet on Tuesday approved the Punjab Local Government Finance Commission, effectively clearing the way for holding local elections that it reportedly hopes to hold in the coming March.
In the run-up to the polls, the provincial government had already constituted an eight-member team headed by the law minister to deliberate on and recommend date for the LG polls. The committee reportedly conveyed its readiness to the Election Commission for March.
Another approval by the 21st meeting of the cabinet was allowing amendment to the CrPC which can cast first-class magistrates as price controller in the province. Of late, the PTI government has been struggling to control prices of vegetables, fruits and pulses and it said the absence of magistracy was the missing link in its efforts to contain the process.
The most conspicuous miss however was approval of the forest policy which has been languishing on the agenda of the successive cabinet meetings. Once again, it was on the agenda but could be not approved for some reason. This was despite the fact that the [draft] forest policy was discussed and recommended by the Standing Committee of the Cabinet on Legislative Business.
The cabinet, held under the chairmanship of the chief minister, also endorsed the decision of setting up sessions courts at Kot Radha Kishan (Kasur) and Kot Momin (Sargodha). The meeting also gave approval to amendment to Police Rules 1934 for the tribal areas of Rajanpur and DG Khan.
On this occasion, recommendations with regard to priority utilisation of natural gas under articles 158 and 172 (3) of the Constitution were approved as well. Recommendations for the exploration of mineral resources of different blocks of Khuzdar South, Surrah and Musakhel were endorsed on the request of the Balochistan government.
The meeting decided to forward recommendations to the federal government with regard to amendments to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2002. Similarly, the meeting decided to forward the matter of technical assistance of the Asian Development Bank for the training of skilled workforce to the cabinet committee for finance and development. The cabinet committee would submit its recommendations after complete review.
The chief minister asked the cabinet members to work as a team to deliver. The line departments, he said, should proactively perform to make the anti-polio campaign a success. The performance of the Punjab cabinet is much better than the cabinets of other provinces, he maintained.
The chief minister announced starting visiting different districts from the next week to inspect the price control measures, cleanliness, law and order and civic amenities.
The genuine problems of the elected representatives would be solved on a priority by the government, he added.
The chief minister also welcomed Chief Secretary retired Maj Azam Suleman and IG Police Shoaib Dastagir to the cabinet meeting and added that both the officers would vigorously work for the betterment of the province.
Meanwhile, the chief minister welcomed the revival of the test cricket in Pakistan. “We are thankful to the Sri Lankan players and their management for coming to Pakistan to play test series,” he added.
Later, he condoled the death of war hero retired Lt Col Muhammad Suleman.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2019