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The revolt of the S Punjab Secretariat was averted by the legislators

The revolt of the S Punjab Secretariat was averted by the legislators

ISLAMABAD: A threatening mutiny by federal and provincial ministers from South Punjab has forced Punjab Chief Minister Usman Bazdar to withdraw the measures that had made the South Punjab Secretariat inactive.

All the Federal and Provincial Ministers belonging to South Punjab jointly informed the Chief Minister personally that they would have to cancel the official notification which had virtually closed the South Punjab Secretariat, in which they supported it. Think again before you do.

Sensing danger, Bazdar acted swiftly and withdrew the unknown order. The flood of information – the establishment of the South Punjab Secretariat, its rapid authority and notoriety, had become a joke in the last few days. The stalemate decision-making process reflected the disappointing level of administration in the largest province. Official records show that the Punjab government, for all practical purposes, has now set out with the same objective of dividing the South Punjab Secretariat into a majority province as a prelude to the formation of a new federal unit.

A notification issued by the provincial government and a copy of which is available with The News on March 29, 2021, revoked the former authoritative and independent status of the South Punjab Secretariat. Although the office was not completely wounded, its powers and functions were severely curtailed and it was subordinated to the Central Secretariat operating in the provincial capital, Lahore. The next day, March 30, the Punjab government issued another notification amending the status of the South Punjab Secretariat and the Punjab Rules of Procedure to curb its functions.

This put pressure on the federal and provincial ministers from South Punjab to resign. On April 1, Bazdar stepped back and issued another notification. He has now formed a committee on the subject. After a delay of more than two years, the current government had set up the South Punjab Secretariat, which was presented as an alternative to a new province, which the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had announced in the run-up to the 2018 general elections. But did. With the support of the then South Sabah Mehz. Mahaz, an electorate from the Seraiki belt, merged with the PTI after signing an agreement that credible steps would be taken to make a new province out of Punjab. However, the front never spoke of its demands after some of its key members took over cabinet posts. The merger of this group brought huge electoral benefits to the PTI. The call for a new province in South Punjab – as well as opposition to the move – has always been a political slogan rather than a serious move to divide Punjab into two federal units for administrative purposes to benefit its people. Earlier, the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) strongly supported the move, and the PTI later took advantage of the game. The four-page order dated March 30, 2020 by the Chief Secretary (CS) of Punjab had canceled the 10-page notification issued on September 11, 2020, which listed the duties, powers and duties of the South Punjab Secretariat and the bureaucrats stationed there. Were .

The new notification stated that in the exercise of the powers conferred under Article 139 of the Constitution, read with Rule 49 of the Punjab Rules of Business 2011, the Provincial Governor issued Notification No. SO (Cab 1) on 2-4 / 2020. Withdrawn (SP) released on September 11, 2020. In this notification, some amendments were made in the rules and regulations of the Punjab government. Accordingly, a department of South Punjab means a department attached to the South Punjab Secretariat. And its secretary means the head of this department.

Southern Punjab refers to the districts of Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Khanewal, Layyah, Lodhran, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur and Vehari. When the South is referred to collectively, it means the South Punjab Secretariat which is attached to the affiliated departments. The powers and functions of the Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), South Punjab were also strictly curtailed. They were asked to exercise the powers and duties that could be assigned to them by the CS. The secretary of a department, South Punjab, had to exercise the powers and functions that the secretary could give him [sitting in the Lahore Secretariat]. The September 2020 notification stated that the ACS, South Punjab, would exercise all the powers conferred under the Government Rules, Notification and Stand Order unless notified or directed by the CS. He will keep the CS informed of all developments and will strictly follow the instructions and instructions given to him by the CS.

The previous notification had said that the Chief Minister could notify more than one department to run the business of the provincial government in the districts and would allocate specific departments for specific areas of the same subjects in the interest of the people. He said the government could inform one or more secretaries in the province in the public interest.

ACS South Punjab Zahid Akhtar Zaman was transferred in February and has not been replaced yet. This shows the lack of seriousness on the part of the provincial government and the PTI to make the South Punjab Secretariat functional. Now, under pressure, the Chief Minister has announced that the ACS will be appointed soon.

A senior official of the incidents told The News that senior bureaucrats working with Bazdar had persuaded the chief minister to withdraw the original notification, failing which his powers and authority would be weakened. ۔ The official said that there was not much interest in forming South Punjab province at the higher federal level.