Notifying Census-2017 results: CCI to hold virtual meeting

ISLAMABAD:  The Council Common Interests (CCI) could not decide on notifying Census-2017 results, and decided to hold a virtual meeting on Monday to take final decision on the issue. 

The meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Sindh has major reservations about the census and it has been raising issue in meetings and also writing to the PM,

On Nov 13, 2017 a CCI meeting in its decision on the contentious census issue had directed to hold a third party validation of 1pc census blocks in each province. Later, the CCI decided to enhance the sampling proportion from 1% to 5% in each province.

The third party validation was agreed in the light of the agreement among the parliamentary parties which led to the passage of 24th Constitutional Amendment allowing general elections 2018 to be held on the basis of provisional “census results”.

The validation exercise and the finalization of the census results could not be held since the last CCI meeting of March 27, 2018.

In Last November the members of CCI were informed that the federal cabinet had set up a committee headed by Federal Minister Ali Haider Zaidi to make recommendations to finalize the census results.

Sindh took this as unilateral decision and in negation of the parliamentary parties’ agreement and the CCI decisions.

The CCI on December 22, 2020 directed the committee to also address the concerns of the provinces and expedite recommendations for cabinet and the CCI. But the committee instead of engaging with the provinces and in particular those of Sindh submitted its recommendations to the federal cabinet.

The CCI decided to establish a permanent Secretariat of Council of Common Interests as required under article 154(3) of the Constitution. This is for the first time that a permanent Secretariat of the CCI has been established to meet the long overdue Constitutional requirement.

The meeting approved NEPRA’s Annual Report for 2019-20 and State of Industry Report 2020. As directed by 43th meeting of the CCI, the observations of the provinces were incorporated into NEPRA’s Annual Report 2018-19 and State of Industry Report, 2019 and the reports presented before the meeting were approved.

The CCI approved amendment in Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Policy 2012.

Implementation report of the previously taken decisions of CCI was also presented before the meeting.

On the issue of import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and implementation of Article 158 and 172(3) of the Constitution, it was decided to constitute a committee comprising of Minister for Planning, Minister for Energy and SAPM for Power and Petroleum to hold consultations with the provinces so as to evolve a consensus on the way forward in meeting the challenge of dwindling local gas reserves and increasing domestic gas requirements.

It was decided during the meeting that Higher Education Commission HEC will be the sole standard setting national organization with regards to higher education in the country. HEC will strengthen its regional centers for better representation and coordination with the provinces.

In order to further improve ease of doing business and harmonization of quality and standards across the country, it was decided that provinces will notify harmonized standards set by Pakistan Standard & Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) by repealing their own standards. It was also agreed that harmonization of standards, standardized labelling and certification marks logo would remain exclusive domain of PSQCA.

On the issue of distribution of Zakat Funds to the provinces/Federal areas in wake of 25th Constitutional Amendment, the meeting, while agreeing on Zakat Distribution Fund Formula, decided that after merger of FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Zakat Funds for the area, as per the agreed formula, will be transferred to KP province for distribution among the deserving people of the merged districts.