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Health ministry transfer halted

ISLAMABAD: Giving a second thought to the devolution process, the government Tuesday deferred transfer of health ministry this year and banned new recruitments in ministries to be transferred in the next phase, it is learnt.
“The decision has been taken in view of the ongoing international funding and aid projects,” an official of the Health Ministry told INP, requesting not to be named.
The decision came a week ahead of an important meeting of the Implementation Commission on 18th Amendment of the Constitution to decide on devolving five more federal ministries to the provinces.
The second phase of devolution is to be completed by the end of February, 2011. Instead of Health, it is decided to recommend to the commission to approve the transfer of Ministry of Tourism to the provinces, he said. The ministries proposed to be devolved to the provinces in the second phase are livestock, education, social welfare and special education, culture and tourism.
Five ministers would also lose their cabinet posts after the second phase is completed. They are Humayun Aziz Kurd, Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali, Maulana Ata-ur Rehman and Pir Aftab Shah Jilani. However, in the reshuffling of portfolios on Tuesday, two federal ministers including Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali and Pir Aftab Shah Jilani are given other ministries and thus their cabinet posts will be secure. Meantime, the ministries of Food and Agriculture and Tourism are asked not to go for any fresh recruitment as it will not be possible to absorb the newly inducted staff. In the third phase, which will be implemented in July 2011, ministries of food and agriculture, labour, women development and health will be devolved to the provinces. Although, Ministry of Minorities Affairs is also on the list of ministries to be devolved, but in view of issues that the ministry has to deal with at the international level like the case of blasphemy of Asia Bibi. Meanwhile, the provinces are pressing that the ministry be devolved to them as they are eyeing on the properties of Evacuee Trust Board. -Agencies


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