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August 28, 2017
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PM Abbasi shows his faith in institutional decision making

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August 28, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: In a positive change from the previous four years of Nawaz Sharif’s rule, incumbent Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during his 27 days rule has given emphasis to institutional decision making in the government.

While former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was criticised for rarely holding meetings of all important federal cabinet and National Security Committee, during these 27 days of Abbasi’s rule two cabinet meetings have been held, while the NSC has met twice.

In the past, there has been a great demand for frequent NSC meetings for mutually evolved and agreed decision making of the civil-military leadership. However, such meetings were not called even for months as the former premier preferred one-on-one meetings, mostly with the army chief.

During the first month of his tenure, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also held the meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI). The CCI previously met on May 2nd after a gap of four months. The CCI was chaired by the PM here on last Friday. After the 18th Amendment, the CCI is supposed to meet after every three months.

A PML-N source claims that Nawaz Sharif has asked Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to pursue the unattended areas of PML-N 2013 election manifesto and thus he has to work day and night. Others believe that Abbasi is workaholic and disciplined and, therefore, would meet the targets set by Nawaz.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, within a fortnight of his oath as Prime Minister, had also removed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar from his post as chairman of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet. According to the Cabinet Division’s notification, the prime minister himself became the chairman of the ECC after Dar’s removal. Dar will remain a member of the committee and will chair meetings of the ECC in case of Abbasi’s absence. Five ministries — railways, power, communications, statistics, water resources, and privatization — have also been added to the ECC. The ECC has traditionally been chaired by the federal finance minister and the prime minister is not usually involved in its affairs. Its members include the ministers of 10 key federal ministries.

During the last three weeks, the prime minister toured Karachi and Quetta and held meetings there. Abbasi has also once chaired the meeting of the PML-N parliamentary party.Although, Abbasi has retained almost the entire team of ministers, ministers of state, advisers and special assistants of his predecessor, he added new faces too. He decided to give all his cabinet members a free hand to carry out the mandate of their respective ministries without referring every case to the prime minister.

Abbasi, during his first cabinet meeting, had also issued the direction that the ministers shall have full authority to allow foreign travel by state ministers and all officers working in their respective ministries, divisions, attached departments, and autonomous bodies under their control.

Abbasi also directed that the federal ministers may not seek permission from the PM for travelling abroad if the visit was required in line with performance of duties related to their respective ministries. It was said that in case of such official visits, the ministers may only inform the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) about the dates on which official travel was required.

Prime Minister Abbasi also started sitting at the Prime Minister’s Office at the Constitutional Avenue. His predecessor used to run the government from the PM’s Office situated in the Prime Minister’s House.

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