PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Thursday approved the formation of a judicial commission to investigate the May 9, 2023, violence in the province.

In a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur here, the cabinet also endorsed the provincial assembly’s resolution that called for the release of former prime minister and PTI founder Imran Khan and all other political prisoners, and gave the go-ahead to the provincial government to formally inform the federal government about it for implementation.

The cabinet also approved another provincial assembly resolution, which expressed solidarity with the Iranian people after the death of their country’s president and other dignitaries in a helicopter crash.

The meeting was attended by cabinet members, provincial chief secretary, additional chief secretary (home), and relevant administrative secretaries.

Calls for release of Imran, other political prisoners

On May 10, the KP Assembly passed a resolution, demanding an “independent” judicial inquiry into the May 9 violent protests and the release of their CCTV footage.

It also called for the immediate release of PTI founder Imran Khan, his wife, Bushra Bibi, and all those arrested over the May 9 protests.

Adviser to the chief minister on information Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif told Dawn that after the cabinet’s approval of the May 9 judicial commission, the terms of references for the inquiry would be finalised.

He added that the government would formally request the high court to depute a judge to look into the May 9 incidents in the province.

Also, the cabinet approved 565 posts for the police department, including five of sub-inspectors, 10 of assistant sub-inspectors, 50 of head constables and 500 for constables in Kulachi sub-division of the Dera Ismail Khan district, according to a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

It added that those posts would help police improve the law and order situation in the district.

The cabinet also approved necessary amendments to Section 32 of the KP Police Act, 2017, to “ensure prompt facilitation for the employment of 213 wards of martyred police officials in the province” by increasing their job quota.

It examined the “successful transition from the old traffic system to the enhanced traffic warden system” in Peshawar, Swat and Abbottabad and approved its extension to Dera Ismail Khan, Bannu, Kohat and Mardan districts.

The cabinet approved the additional funding of Rs319.627 million for the financial needs of cadet colleges in Razmak, Spinkai and Wana areas, according to the statement.

It approved a 100 per cent increase in room rents to “balance the expenditure and income” of KP Houses in Islamabad and Abbottabad, as well as the Shahi Mehman Khana in Peshawar.

The cabinet also okayed the outsourcing of the collection of tobacco cess to ensure revenue increase as well as necessary amendments to the KP Zakat and Ushr Act, 2011, to establish Philanthropic Contribution Fund with cabinet members contributing one-month salary to it as first donations.

“Necessary amendments will also be carried out to revamp the Zakat and Usher Council, district zakat committees and local zakat committees, and the formation of a scrutiny committee at provincial and district levels. Through the amendments, the department will establish a zakat management information system to ensure effective management of zakat and usher distribution,” read the statement.

The government also approved the “Cloud First Policy for the introduction of “cloud computing” in the province.

“Under the policy, cloud computing will be integrated across government departments, facilitating centralised data management and ensuring secure archival practices. This initiative aims to enhance efficiency, reduce duplications, data accessibility, and overall governance effectiveness,” read the statement.

The cabinet also approved the constitution of a committee to ensure effective utilisation and disposal of spare government land in Mardan district that were previously purchased for various government schemes but couldn’t be utilised effectively.

The committee will produce its recommendations in the next 15 days.

The cabinet approved the holding of the Medical and Dental College Admission Test, 2024, by the Khyber Medical University and the withdrawal of agreement with the Infrastructure Development Authority Punjab that was meant for revamping the province’s district headquarters hospitals for better performance.

It also allowed the reconstitution of its supervisory committee for the hospitals outsourced in merged tribal districts.

“In order to streamline the service matters of the Initial Forensic Laboratory, the cabinet approved amendments to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Police Department (Research and Analysis Wing) Service Rules, 2014, lastly amended in 2022 to re-designate the posts of IFL,” read the official statement.

The cabinet allowed the extension of the service tenure of Mian Nasrem Javed as the director at the directorate general of petroleum concessions for another term of two years as well as the names of the members of board of directors of Water and Sanitation Services Company, Abbottabad.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2024

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