Prime Minister Imran Khan has instructed the Punjab chief minister to establish and make operational the Administrative Secretariat for South Punjab by 2019.
He also sought measures for allocation of extra resources to end disparity in the region and a sense of deprivation among the area people.
The instructions were issued by the prime minister at a briefing given by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, along with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and Provincial Finance Minister Makhdoom Jawan Bakhat Hashim, the three empowered elected representatives of South Punjab.
The briefing was delayed as the Punjab leadership was unable to complete work on South Punjab province, due to which it was not announced in the first 100-day accomplishments of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
The Punjab government prepared the presentation on South Punjab, which was presented by Bakhtiar.
The issue of required number of votes in both houses of the parliament – the National Assembly and the Senate – was also discussed in the meeting.
The federal minister pointed out in the presentation that the government would require two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, Senate, and Punjab Assembly in order to pass the constitutional amendment bill for the creation of the new province.
The elected representatives of South Punjab have termed the creation of administrative secretariat a transition towards Naya Pakistan (New Pakistan).
It was further proposed that Prime Minister Khan should announce a special development package to initiate equalisation of South Punjab with North Punjab for five years.
Similarly, key administrative departments and special institutions are to be relocated to South Punjab from July 1, 2019.
Additionally, an increase in job quota for South Punjab to 35% at the provincial level for all positions was proposed.
The proposed plan of the administrative set-up is creation of an administrative secretariat in South Punjab, the Punjab Police headquarters in South Punjab, and the office of ACS (additional chief secretary) for supervision, implementation and co-ordination.
It is proposed that fully powered special secretaries would be appointed to the administrative secretariat of South Punjab: planning and development, finance, home, agriculture, local government and community development, Board of Revenue, school education, higher education, primary health, specialised health, forest, livestock and dairy development, communication and works, irrigation, urban development, and public health engineering departments.
In addition, a provincial development working party for South Punjab and a South Punjab Public Service Commission should also be established by July 1, 2019.
The three empowered elected representatives of South Punjab suggested that Prime Minister Khan announce a special assistance package for regional equalisation with allocation for south Punjab to address disparities and deprivations.
The funds should be allocated 50% each from the Annual Development Programme of Punjab and Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) of the federal government.
Additionally, the prime minister should also announce sector-specific interventions for health, education, transport, production, and other sectors of South Punjab.
They also suggested giving special incentives to government officials posted to South Punjab, based on key performance indicators (KPIs).
Currently, the government officials hailing from South Punjab did not want to be posted there.
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