PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Wednesday nullified the screening test conducted earlier this year for the provincial civil service examination and allowed all over 33,000 candidates to sit the Provincial Management Service (PMS) examination.

The development comes on the demand of the candidates, according to the government.

The cabinet met here with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair and ministers, chief secretary Dr Kazim Niaz and administrative secretaries in attendance.

After the meeting, ministers Kamran Khan Bangash and Arshad Ayub Khan told reporters that the cabinet discussed the issue of screening test for PMS exams.

Mr Bangash said 33,400 applicants appeared in the screening test.

He said almost dominant majority of the applicants wanted to be not judged on the basis of the screening test results alone and allowed to sit the PMS examination.

Cabinet nullifies screening test; forms panel on ‘technical issues’ about LG polls after PHC verdict

The minister said the cabinet declared the screening test results null and void and decided to direct the KP Public Service Commission to let all candidates appear in examination.

He said the decision had been made on the demand of the candidates.

The issue was taken up by opposition Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) lawmaker Inayatullah Khan and Awami National Party leader Khushdil Khan in the provincial assembly lately.

The house referred the matter to its standing committee, which recommended the government nullify the screening test.

Mr Bangash said the cabinet also approved the province’s first food security policy to be executed over 10 years at the estimated cost of Rs236 billion to to address the shortage of wheat, sugar and other food items.

He said the policy would make the province self-sufficient in food production and generate employment opportunities as well.

The minister said under the policy, the Food Security Council headed by the chief minister would be formed and that it would meet once a month.

He said the cabinet was also informed that the province’s wheat production had gone up to 1.6 million tonnes from 1.1 million tonnes recorded a year ago.

Mr Bangash said southern districts of the province had great potential for achieving food security of the province had great potential for achieving the goal of food security, where irrigational channels particularly Chashma Right Bank Canal scheme and other water courses would be channelised, public–private partnership will be encouraged, woman participation would be ensured to alleviate poverty and generate employment opportunities.

He said Kissan Card worth RS 55 billion was also part of this policy. He said that a total of Rs 236 billion would be spent under the plan which was likely to generate Rs 700 billion for farmers and other associated businesses.

The minister said the cabinet also discussed the issue of the local body polls in the province following the Peshawar High Court’s verdict, which declared the holding of non-party polls for village and neighbourhood councils unconstitutional and struck down the relevant sections of the KP LG Act for non-party polls.

He said the provincial government had great respect for judiciary and Election Commission of Pakistan and was fully prepared for holding of LB polls.

According to him, the cabinet decided to form a committee comprising ministers Taimur Saleem Jhagra, Shaukat Yousafzai, Shahram Khan Tarakai and himself to discuss modalities as well as work out technical issues with the ECP.

The minister said in light of the Supreme Court’s decision, the cabinet approved regulation of 519 employees of the KP Education Foundation and their absorption into the directorate of higher education.

He said the cabinet, keeping in view the situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, also approved three months extension to monthly fee concession for the students under the Epidemic Control and Emergency Act, 2020.

Mr Bangash said that schools charging more than Rs6,000 monthly fee would provide 20 per cent concession while school charging less than Rs6,000 monthly fees would provide 10 per cent concession in the fee.

The cabinet also approved the extension of Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar to 23 additional semi urban union councils and extend the jurisdiction of the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) to all phases of Hayatabad, Regi Model Town (all zones), GT Road Peshawar, Motorway confluence to motorway to toll plaza, Kohat Road up to Peshawar urban limits, Nasir Bagh Road, Warsak Road, Charsada Road, all areas, where horticulture work have been carried out, including Nowshera , Akora Khattak and Jehangira areas, and all areas notified under Section-IV of Gandhara City.

It approved the transfer of 15 kanals of land of the forest reserved land to Galiyat Development Authority for the outsourcing of the rest places.

The cabinet also accorded approval to the appointment of Said Mahmood as the vice-chairman of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade for a period of three years.

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2021

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