Altaf Hamid Rao.
Islamabad/ MIRPUR (AJK) (Parliament Times) : The AJK Cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Ch. Anwar-ui-Haq here today ,gave a final nod to the proposed Fifteenth Constitutional Amendment Act 2023.The meeting, which was attended by ministers as well as top officials of the government, also gave green signal to the draft amendment seeking abolition of the quota of Ministers under Article 14 of the Interim Constitution of Azad Jammu and Kashmir 1974. The draft will be accordingly presented in the Legislative Assembly for the final approval.Pertinently, the cabinet also approved several measures to improve the governance system in the state. In a rare move, the cabinet fixed the petrol limit for ministers to 500 litres per car, which was earlier unlimited. The Cabinet also approved all orders issued by the Prime Minister since he assumed office.Addressing the cabinet meeting, the AJK premier Chaudhry Anwar ul Haq said that the federal government has expressed its willingness to provide development funds worth 12 billion rupees to the government of Azad Kashmir. “It is the sole responsibility of the state machinery to utilize these funds in a timely and transparent manner”, he said, adding that there was a dire need that projects of public interest should be accomplished on priority basis. Spelling out his government’s priorities, the PM said that the establishment of merit and rule of law in the state was his government’s first and foremost priority. “No society or state can flourish without the implementation of the rule of law”, he said, adding that everyone has to be accountable under the law. The prime minister said that he was ready to present himself for accountability. He made it clear that all ministers, chief Secretary ,secretaries ,heads of departments, and officials were bound by the law and were also responsible/accountable for their every action.Expressing his dissatisfaction over the prevailing accountability system in the state, the Prime Minister said that the accountability bureau and the anti-corruption department were ineffective because they lack authority. The Prime Minister said that a committee headed by a senior minister had been formed that would present actionable suggestions and recommendations within 48 hours, vis-a-vis making the accountability bureau effective and ensuring a transparent and across the board accountability. In order to curtail government spendings, the PM said that austerity measures would be observed in all government offices to cut expenditure.He made it clear that all the departments should ensure the implementation of the Prime Minister’s orders, saying that the government would not tolerate any kind of negligence or leniency in this regard.Regarding the devolution of power to the grassroots level, the PM said that the powers would be transferred to the lower level to the best advantage of the masses. The cabinet meeting was attended by Senior Minister Colonel (retd) Waqar Noor, Government Minister Raja Faisal Mumtaz Rathore, Chief Secretary Dr Muhammad Usman Chachar, Principal Secretary/ Additional Chief Secretary Development Fayyaz Ali Abbasi,SMBR Choudry Liaqat Hussain, Secretary Finance Ismatullah Shah, Secretary Services and General Administration Raja Amjad Parvez, Secretary Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights Irshad Ahmad Qureshi, Secretary Information Ansar Yaqub and other senior officials were present on the occasion.