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January 11, 2019

Cabinet overrules PM’s ministry


January 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Thursday rejected the summary of the interior ministry, whose minister in-charge is no one else but the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan.

Information minister Fawad Chaudhry in a post-cabinet meeting press briefing disclosed that the top decision-making body of the country has rejected the interior ministry’s request to remove from ECL names of twenty persons reflected in the JIT’s report on fake bank accounts.

Interestingly, the portfolio of the interior ministry is with the Prime Minister Imran Khan and as per the rules of business any summary presented before the cabinet by any ministry contains the approval of respective minister incharge.

In this case, the interior ministry following the Supreme Court’s decision had suggested the removal from ECL the names of 20 persons reflected negatively in the JIT report on fake accounts. When the matter was brought before the cabinet, it decided against the interior ministry’s proposal and decided to set up a ministerial committee to review the matter.

Whether it is a case of best democratic practice where even the PM can be overruled by a collective forum or it should be taken as a subtle no confidence over PM’s view by his own ministers, this is a rare case.

Under the Rules of Business and established practices, in respect of all cases to be submitted to the Cabinet, the Secretary of the Division concerned transmit to the Cabinet Secretary a concise, lucid and printed memorandum of the case (hereinafter referred to as the "summary"), giving the background and relevant facts, the points for decision. Such a summary includes the nod of the minister incharge. In cases where the views of the ministry’s secretary are different from the views of the Minister incharge both the views are included in the summary.

Under the Rules of Business, the Minister shall be responsible for policy concerning his Division. These Rules also envisages that when the Secretary submits a case to the Minister, the latter may accept the proposals or views of the Secretary or may over-rule him. The Secretary will normally defer to the decision of the Minister and implement it. In case, however, the Secretary feels that the decision of the Minister is manifestly wrong and will cause gross injustice or undue hardship, he may state his reasons and re-submit the case to the Minister.

If the Minister still adheres to his earlier decision and the matter is important enough, the Secretary shall request the Minister to refer the case to the Prime Minister and the Minister shall so refer the case for orders of the Prime Minister. If the case is not referred to the Prime Minister, the Secretary shall submit it directly to the Prime Minister with observations of the Minister-in-Charge. According to source no such thing happened in this case.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry when contacted told this correspondent that the Prime Minister Imran Khan is though the Minister incharge of the Interior Ministry, the summary in question was containing the nod of the minister of state for interior Shehryar Khan Afridi. Chaudhry explained that the summary primarily contained the recommendations of interior ministry’s committee headed by its additional secretary.

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