ISLAMABAD: Following a decision by Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader and federal Information Technology Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui to stay away from the federal cabinet, Housing Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema of Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) also indicated that he is parting ways with the cabinet by not attending its meeting on Tuesday.
However, Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Buzdar is meeting a delegation of the Q-League on Wednesday (today) to remove grievances of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government’s ally.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has formed a committee of his party’s leaders, headed by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, to meet ‘annoyed’ government allies — MQM, PML-Q and Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) — to address their concerns. A meeting between the government team and BNP leaders is also taking place on Wednesday (today) in the federal capital.
“The MQM has left the cabinet but it will remain an ally of the government,” said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan in a post- cabinet meeting press conference. However, she was silent on why PML-Q leader Cheema did not turn up in the meeting.
Team led by minister to talk to ‘annoyed allies’, including BNP-Mengal, today
On the other hand, PML-Q information secretary Kamil Ali Agha while talking to Dawn gave reasons for Mr Cheema’s absence from the cabinet meeting, saying his party had some genuine, legal and constitutional demands which were being ignored by Prime Minister Khan.
He said PML-Q leader Monis Elahi had called on the prime minister two weeks ago and apprised him about grievances of the party but to no avail.
“We were offered a federal ministry 10 months ago but we refused it and asked the government to solve people’s problems and keep the PML-Q on board in decision making,” Mr Agha said.
“Our credibility is at stake as we meet people and face their genuine reservations on inflation, joblessness and increasing corruption in the country,” he said.
The Q-League leader said despite assurance by the prime minister their demands were not being met.
However, he added, the PML-Q would never part ways with the government and would continue to support ruling PTI at the Centre and in Punjab.
A member of the federal cabinet, on condition of anonymity, said non-distribution of development funds, particularly in Punjab, was one of the complaints of Q-League. He said Punjab’s Annual Development Programme was worth Rs342 billion but only Rs70bn have so far been released.
Dr Awan said Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, who met with MQM leadership in Karachi on Sunday, apprised the prime minister about reservations of Mutahidda and now the prime minister was analysing them. “They have left the cabinet but not the government,” she added.
She said although MQM leader Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui had parted ways with the cabinet, one of the party leaders and Law Minister Farogh Naseem attended Tuesday’s cabinet meeting. “Allies are with us but they have their own manifestos,” she added.
The SAPM said all allied parties under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan were united on the national agenda of the country’s development and public welfare. “We will safeguard national interests at every front with unity and integrity,” she added.
Recruitment on vacant posts
The cabinet decided to fill 129,301 vacant posts in different ministries and government departments.
The cabinet meeting was informed that past neglect by successive governments of core governance issues and service matters had resulted into pendency of thousands of cases involving careers of government officials and other important matters thus affecting overall service delivery.
A presentation given by Secretary to Prime Minister Azam Khan on situational analysis of service matters and miscellaneous affairs of various ministries, divisions and attached departments revealed that thousands of cases were pending in the ministries awaiting their disposal.
Presenting a gist of complaints received from government servants on Pakistan Citizen Portal, he said majority of complaints related to cases of undue delays in promotion, pending seniorities, inordinate delays in inquiries and excessive workload due to vacant positions.
He said 129,301 posts of different ranks and grades were lying vacant with various ministries, divisions and organisations, 16,343 cases were pending related to framing or updating of rules and 3,738 cases of re-designation of posts, rationalisation and deletion of position were on pendency list.
A shocking figure of 20,585 cases of seniorities was also pending with various ministries and departments involving future of government officials, mostly ex-cadre officials. As many as 3,459 cases are on pendency list regarding requisition to be made to the Federal Public Service Commission. Besides, 1,623 disciplinary proceeding cases are awaiting their disposal.
The cabinet was told that 37.740 million items were pending to be archived or auctioned. These include condemned vehicles and office furniture.
Later, the cabinet approved a proposal that recruitment rules whether afresh or updated for all identified or any left-over positions would be framed at all levels within 60 days.
It was decided to initiate the process for re-designation/rationalisation or deletion of the identified or any left-over positions and get it completed within 45 working days except those which have been either advertised for recruitment or are meant for promotions.
The cabinet directed that promotion cases of all eligible officers and officials would be disposed of within 60 working days.
Similarly all vacant positions falling in the recruitment ambit of the ministries and divisions or its attached departments would be filled within 120 working days while adhering to the manner prescribed, except those which are either coming in restricting process or are meant for promotion.
The meeting decided that all inquiries initiated under disciplinary rules would be finalised on merit and submitted to the quarters concerned within 90 working days.
Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2020