KARACHI: The Sindh cabinet in its around five-hour-long session on Tuesday condemned a letter written by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to the provincial government seeking domicile-wise details of its employees from grades 1 to 22 and termed the letter “politically motivated”, written at the behest of PM’s Special Assistant Shahzad Akbar.
The cabinet said that the information sought by NAB was beyond its mandate. It demanded that the NAB chairman conduct an inquiry into the matter.
The meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah here at CM House, was attended by provincial ministers, advisers, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Planning and Development chairman M. Waseem and other provincial secretaries concerned.
CM approves Rs500m for cleaning of storm-water drains in Karachi ahead of monsoon
The cabinet took up the issue of the NAB letter in the meeting and termed it a politically motivated move by PM’s special assistant. It said NAB authorities crossed their legal limits by writing the letter to the Sindh government.
The cabinet demanded the NAB chairman to conduct an inquiry into the matter and take actions accordingly.
Prohibition of corporal punishment
The school education department presented draft rules for Sindh Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Act-2016. Under the rules no child or student in any educational institution, including madressah shall be harmed physically, mentally or emotionally or harassed or abused sexually by any person employed in the institution.
The institution shall ensure the protection and safety of the child and shall take all possible measures to protect and prevent a child from corporal and physical punishment.
Under the rules the educational institutions will have to constitute child protection committees comprising headmaster or administrator of seminary, one member of administration, parent or guardian with the assignment to receive, record and investigate all complaints regarding allegations.
Any person who abets, attempts, incites, assists or directs any person to commit the acts prohibited under the law shall be liable to severe punishment defined in the law.
Desilting of drains in Karachi
The local government department told the cabinet that the cleaning of 41 storm-water drains of the KMC and DMCs was due since the monsoon season was approaching fast.
The cabinet approved Rs500 million for the purpose and the CM directed the finance secretary to immediately release Rs250m so that work could be started, and the remaining funds would be released shortly.
The CM constituted a committee comprising head of the solid waste management board and KMC’s municipal commissioner to personally monitor the cleaning work.
On the request of the inspector general of police, the provincial cabinet approved procurement of two engraving machines at a cost of Rs25m each for the forensic labs in Hyderabad and Larkana.
The information department presented a draft Advertisement Policy 2021 to bring about greater transparency, accountability and responsibility in advertisements.
The criteria for release of advertisement to print and electronic media shall be issued on the basis of regularity, frequency, popularity, circulation, viewership, quality, audience, market assessment, rating, ranking, surveys, outreach and influence of the media outlets assessed objectively.
The social welfare department presented the Sindh Senior Citizens Welfare Rules-2021 and the cabinet approved them. The senior citizens would be issued Azadi cards for availing essential services and benefits.
By-laws for stray dogs
The local government department presented draft by-laws on population control and mass vaccination of stray dogs. Under the rules stray and pet dogs’ categories have been covered.
The owners of pet dogs shall be responsible for controlled breeding, immunisation, sterilisation and licensing in accordance with the by-laws.
The stray dogs shall be sterilised and immunised by participation of councils and private individuals.
The local councils would constitute their respective monitoring committees for the purpose of planning and management of birth control and euthanasia programme.
The functions of the committee include conducting surveys of stray dogs, issuing instructions for catching, transporting, sheltering, sterilising, vaccinating, treating and releasing sterilised vaccinated or treated dogs. A dog control cell would be set up under the by-laws where complaints could be registered against the behaviour of the dogs for necessary action. All the local councils would adopt the byelaws.
The cabinet on humanitarian grounds approved declaring the houses of two undertrial prisoners — Abdul Rehman, 55, and Arif Qasmani, 78, — as sub-jail.
Payment of pension
The agriculture department requested the cabinet for a grant of over Rs749m to clear the outstanding pensionary benefits of Rs410.838m and Rs338.029m for payment of their arrears.
The cabinet observed that the market committee and such other institutions like Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, Karachi Development Authority and other authorities had failed to protect their retired employees in terms of payment of their pensions or gratuity.
They should have established pension funds to secure their retirement benefits, but this had not been done.
The CM on the advice of the cabinet approved a loan of Rs749m to clear the pensions of market committee retired employees and asked the department to sell the property/assets to clear the government loan.
Land allotment to foreign trust
The provincial cabinet approved allotment of four acres land in Deh Kohistan, taluka Qambar, district Shahdadkot to The Zayed Charitable & Humanitarian Foundation Abu Dhabi for establishment of a 20-bed hospital and one high school building with a playground.
The deputy commissioner Qambar-Shahdadkot had fixed the price of land at Rs350,000 per acre, but the cabinet approved to allot it free of cost.
The UAE government through a trust wanted to establish a hospital and a school, the cabinet was told. The chief minister directed the Board of Revenue to issue an allotment order within 24 hours.
The forest department told the cabinet that cultivation of agriculture crops on forest lands was misuse of the lands under The Forest Act 1927.
The forest policy 2004 had already been cancelled by the government in 2019. Forest Minister Nasir Shah said that the ex-leaseholders and encroachers were not vacating the forest lands. He added that under the ongoing encroachment removal operation 39,275 acres have been vacated and around 200,000 acres were yet to be vacated.
The cabinet constituted a committee to review proposed amendments in the forest law and present the bill to the assembly.
Published in Dawn, May 12th, 2021