Wednesday, October 20

28 ‘defunct’ Task Forces still functional

The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday, during the Question-Hour on Services and General Administration Department, discussed ‘dissolved’, much-criticised and equally celebrated task forces as if these were still functional.
On the other hand, the Treasury’s silence about it hinted at the thin possibility of reversing this decision of suspension, which was taken immediately after the floods. Secondly, the govt is yet to issue a notification, which is a tacit approval that the task forces are still working.
However, no member pointed out about the dissolution of the task forces, including Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, who was giving replies to the House. PML-N leaders, including Rana Sana and spokesperson Senator Pervaiz Rasheed are also on record in this regard.
To the query of Ch Muhammad Tariq Gujjar about number of task forces, and perks of their chairmen, Rana Sana told the House that there were 27 task forces, and the Chief Minister had the power to institute the forces, who was also heading 15 forces including MNAs and MPAs, whereas 12 task forces had technical and unelected chairmen. However, in another answer to a question by Amjad Ali Mayo, it was mentioned that there were 28 functional task forces. Out of these, 18 heads were working without salary, while they had been provided chauffer-driven official vehicles. MPA Col (r) Col Shuja Khanzada was heading three forces, but he was given only one vehicle. However, chairmen of three task forces were working on honorary basis, and seven task forces of Sport, Information Technology, Industries S&GAD and Environment Department had professional heads.
The House was also told that the Commissioners, District Coordination Officers and Deputy District Officers were being given Rs 50,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively. However, when questioner Engineer Qamar-ul-Islam Raja quizzed about this special favour, Rana Sana mentioned that it was because of the field postings, long working hours, extra burden and the resultant stress. Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan added that the administrative control was also with these officers.
About the allotment of official residences in Lahore to the government employees, Rana Sana averred that all was being done according to the rules, and those residences had not been vacated where the matters were sub judice, and to the rest, notices had been served, in particular to those who had been posted in other districts or provinces. He also stated that it was not possible to implement Rent Restriction Ordinance to those cases, which were pending in courts.
The Law Minister also told the House that the govt was not planning new housing schemes for its employees though the residences were not available to all officers and officials.
To a query whether the govt had any plans of demolishing the Gazetted Officers’ Residences-I, Rana Sana kept mum.
To Opposition Leader Ch Zaheeruddin’s questions about ban on smoking in govt offices, Rana Sana asserted that there was a complete ban on smoking in the offices. “However, upon written complaints, action is taken against the violators,” he asserted, but Dr Samia Amjad seriously objected to this reply adding that it was incorrect.

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