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EXCLUSIVE: Maryam Nawaz Surrenders Punjab Govt Powers To Bureaucrats

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LAHORE: Chief Minister Punjab Maryam Nawaz Sharif, has surrendered the enforcement and regulatory powers of her government to bureaucrats, The Scoop (TS) has learnt.

A notification issued on April 29, 2024, a copy of which is available with TS, states: “The Chief Minister of Punjab is pleased to constitute a steering committee for the creation of the Punjab Enforcement and Regulatory Authority (PERA). The committee has been established with the following composition and Terms of Reference (TORs), effective immediately.”

Notification of Steering Committee

The steering committee will include the Chief Secretary of Punjab Zahid Akhtar Zaman as the Convener, Additional Chief Secretary S&GAD Ahmad Raza Sarwar, Senior Member Board of Revenue Nabeel Javed, Secretary Home Noorul Amin Mengal, Secretary Finance Mujahid Sherdil, Secretary Services, Secretary Law, Secretary Prosecution, Advocate General Punjab, Secretary I&C, S&GAD, and any other member co-opted by the committee.

TORs of Steering Committee

The TORs of the steering committee include overseeing the entire process of creating the authority, supervising necessary legislation, setting directions and goals by defining objectives, scope, and necessary timelines, making key decisions, tracking progress, identifying and resolving issues, approving plans, ensuring financial resources for the establishment and sustainability of the authority, and constituting sub-committees for taking necessary actions for the purpose of establishment.

Impact of the Decision

Sources close to the developments have confirmed to TS that this move will grant the Chief Secretary Zahid Akhtar Zaman and his team absolute powers in Punjab, effectively rendering the political government toothless, particularly in terms of regulatory and enforcement powers. This shift is expected to make ministers and legislators dependent on bureaucrats, who are already considered overly powerful.

Criticism from Within

A prominent minister in Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s cabinet told TS that this was a significant political mistake by the Chief Minister, which will force elected officials and ministers to be subservient to or manipulated by a bureaucratic mafia. This group had convinced the Chief Minister to proceed with such a move, thereby weakening her own party, ministers, and legislators in the face of bureaucrats who may use these powers for personal gain.

Recommendations for Inclusion

Another key member of Maryam Nawaz’s team at the Chief Minister’s Office suggested that the steering committee should have included key ministers or legislators, arguing that not everything should be left under the control of bureaucrats.

Hassan Naqvi
Hassan Naqvi
Hassan Naqvi is an award-winning digital, print, and broadcast investigative journalist who is the co-founder of The Scoop. He also hosts his web shows 'The Scoop' and 'The Hassan Naqvi Show'.

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