Punjab cabinet warns against undue interference in executive authority

Decides to approach NAB for corruption in grant of rock salt lease; approves ads policy for digital media

LAHORE   -   The Punjab cabinet which met here on Tuesday with Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif in the chair affirmed its stance that the government did not believe in having conflict with any institution, but undue interference in the executive authority will not be tolerated. A handout issued after the cabinet meeting hinted at some sort of interference from some institution in the affairs of the Punjab government without going into details. The cabinet’s warning that “undue interference in the executive authority is not acceptable” has given rise to speculations in this regard. Also, according to the handout, the Advocate General briefed the cabinet members that the Constitution has made mutual consultation of the stakeholders indispensable before making important appointments. Again, no background of this briefing given to the cabinet about making important appointments after “mutual consultation of stakeholders” was given in the official release. The only background provided in the release about the appointments was that the cabinet approved Food Minister Bilal Yasin’s proposal to constitute a ministerial committee for making important appointments after meaningful consultation with the other stakeholders. However, speaking against this backdrop, perhaps, the chief minister said: “It is the responsibility of all of us to uphold the sanctity of our office by exercising our powers within the constitutional limits. She added: ”You need not be apologetic in discussing your constitutional rights and prerogatives.” The cabinet also made some important decisions on different subjects. It was also decided in the cabinet meeting to approach NAB against those responsible for corruption in the grant of Rock Salt Leases. Addressing the meeting, Madam chief minister said she could not allow the looting of precious national resources. “Illegal leases of rock salt mining should be suspended immediately. Do not waste even a single particle of salt, $13 billion rock salt mineral reserves is a valuable asset of the Province”, the CM maintained. She added: ”If the world can buy our salt at cheap rates and sell it at a higher price after value addition, why can’t we?.” Also, the cabinet ratified Rock Salt Policy 2022, Rock Salt Amended Policy 2023, and directed to form a committee to decide on rock salt mining leases.  The cabinet approved Punjab Government Advertisement Policy 2024 to regulate advertisements in print, electronic, cable and digital media in line with the Federal Government procedures. The cabinet gave approval to extend the contract of 23 employees of the Policy and Strategic Planning Unit of the Primary and Secondary HealthCare Department, besides lifting a ban on recruitment against vacant posts.  The cabinet also approved presenting before the Provincial Assembly the special project and performance audit reports of the Punjab Government and District Governments from 2016 to 2022. Approval was also accorded to the appointment of Bakht Fakhr Behzad as Judicial Member and Chairperson of the Appellate Tribunal of Punjab Revenue Authority.   Provincial Ministers, Advisors, Chief Secretary, IG Punjab Police, Secretaries and other relevant officers attended the meeting

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