December 2006 News

NAs council to be given more admin powers

20 December 2006
The Daily Times

Islamabad: The government has decided to upgrade the status of the Northern Areas Council, giving it more financial and administrative powers by amending the Northern Areas Legal Framework Order (LFO) 1994, it is learnt. The Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas has completed its homework in this regard, sources told Daily Times. They said the ministry took the initiative on the repeated demands of council members. The ministry would introduce legislative amendments in the order to bring major legal reforms to the Northern Areas and to initiate the process of devolution, sources added. Under the proposed amendments, council members would be given the right to submit a no-confidence motion against NAs council speaker and deputy speaker, sources said, adding that the council had no right to do so under the 1994 LFO. After incorporating the proposed amendments in the order, the council would be in full control of preparing its own budget, sources said. They added that after amending the LFO, some major changes would be required in the business rules. They said that the ministry had also expressed its willingness to give more administrative powers to the NAs deputy chief executive, who is nominated by the Kashmir Affairs minister, and later gets the vote from the council. When contacted, Major (r) Tahir Iqbal, the federal minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas, said that the ministry was reviewing the proposals sent by council representatives. He said that though a final decision was yet to be taken, things were moving in the right direction. After considering the proposals of the members, the ministry will come up with a proposed draft and send it to cabinet for approval. After getting the approval, the ministry will amend the 1994 LFO, he said, adding that the process would take two months. The ministry is willing to start a devolution process in the NAs and I support it, he said.


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