Abolition of concurrent list to give due rights to provinces: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday said abolition of the Constitution’s concurrent list is a major step towards provincial autonomy providing them legitimate rights in governance. In his opening remarks while chairing the special meeting of the Federal Cabinet, the Prime Minister said the cabinet would approve the third and last phase of the devolution.  He congratulated the people of Pakistan and also the members of the Implementation Commission under Senator Mian Raza Rabbani who worked selflessly to complete this very difficult task in a most efficient and smooth manner with the consensus of all concerned, particularly the provincial governments.The cabinet will deliberate on a single-point agenda of the devolution of seven ministries to provinces. The ministries under consideration relate to health, environment, sports, food and agriculture, women development, labour and manpower, and minorities affairs.Gilani said the federal government remained committed and steadfast to implement changes envisaged in the 18th Amendment Act 2010 in letter and spirit and in the given timeframe.The Commission identified 17 ministries for devolution. In the first and second phase, 10 ministries were wound up and their functions were devolved or reassigned. In the third phase, seven Ministries are being wound up and their functions being devolved or reassigned.He said democracy cannot be strengthened by words alone unless these are matched by deeds, adding that the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment and its implementation is the beginning towards establishment of a stable democratic polity in the country.

The Prime Minister said, “Now, when we have successfully restored the democratic dispensation, it is time to work with renewed vigor and enthusiasm to address those challenges which are confronting the common man.”He said the government was already making every effort to overcome energy shortage, poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, inadequate health facilities, rural and regional backwardness.He said however it was a gigantic task and a challenge for the public representatives.“We look towards the provincial governments to be our partners in resolving the issues,” he said.
Gilani quoted Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who said: “If we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor”.

He stressed for joining hands to discharge this responsibility successfully as desired by the Founder of the Nation. He assured that the government would continue pursuing the policy of reconciliation and consensus for socio-economic progress of the country.He said, “With our belief in democracy, we in the federal government wanted that provinces should be fully empowered with provincial and financial autonomy, we have implemented 18th Amendment and have transferred powers to the provinces because we are sincere and want the provinces to be strong.”If the provinces are strong, then Pakistan and federation will be stronger, he said.He said the federal ministers whose Ministries are being devolved would remain members of the federal cabinet, and their new portfolios would be decided soon. – APP