18th amendment to be implemented in letter and spirit: Gilani

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said the 18th constitutional amendment unanimously passed by parliament would be implemented in letter and spirit.It is first time in the history that administrative decisions are being taken to make the provinces more powerful and autonomous, he said  presiding over the Implementation Commission on Constitutional Reforms’ meeting at Prime Minister Secretariat here.It was the fourth meeting of the Implementation Commission which was chaired by the Prime Minister since the passage of the 18th Amendment.

The Prime Minister appreciated the contribution of the Chairman Implementation Commission Senator Mian Raza Rabbani and his team for the hard work in formulating the recommendations.He said it is satisfying to observe that all the provincial governments were taken on board while deciding the devolution of the ministries.The Chairman Implementation Commission briefed the meeting about the recommendations of the Commission.The meeting was informed that during the first phase, five ministries will be devolved while the second phase of devolution will be completed by the firs week of February 2011 and the remaining ministries will be devolved by June 30, 2011.The five ministries to be devolved during the first phase include Ministries of Special Initiative, Zakat & Ushr, Population Welfare, Youth Affairs and Local Government and Rural Development.The distribution of assets, personnel, liabilities and functions of the ministries was also discussed in the meeting. It was stated in the meeting that 3769 federal government employees would be affected during the process of devolution.There was a general consensus in the meeting on the recommendations of the committee and the forum recommended the proposals for the approval of the federal cabinet.The meeting was attended by four Chief Ministers as well as Syed Naveed Qamar, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Minister for Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and other senior government officials – App