A meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan was held on Wednesday decided to establish its permanent secretariat as required under Article 154(3) of the Constitution. According to Reports, It was 44th meeting of CCI attended by all four Chief Ministers including Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and related federal ministers and high authorities at Federal level. The council took various decisions related to federal entities including NEPRA, import of LNG, issue of census of 2017, Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Policy 2012, harmonization policy of quality and standards across the country, issue of distribution of Zakat funds to the provinces/federal areas in wake of 25th constitutional amendment, and establishment of HEC’s centers in Provincial capitals.
Council of Common Interests is an important forum which works to resolve interprovincial differences, distribution of resources and funds, allocation of shares in federal monetary funds along side share in responsibilities and obligations of the provinces in federal contribution. The CCI was formed in 1973 under the constitution of Pakistan. CCI successfully resolve several issues such as distribution of water and share of provinces in federal revenue etc. The decision of establishment of a dedicated Secretariat of CCI is the most important and long awaiting action for better and timely management of the issues.
There had been grievances of the people of less developed areas including Ex. FATA, Balochistan and Rural Sindh for not getting due rights in development funds, federal jobs and particularly the shares or reality in the income of natural resources such as gas, electricity production from dams, minerals and precious stones etc. Such complaints whether fake or genuine remained a sources of exploitation by the opportunist politicians of those areas during past.
It is suggestible that the CCI must work transparently and on merit and also educate the public through media and clearly provide all relevant information on its website so people can utilize those for their benefit. It is pertinent to mention that CCI must have equal representation of all provides, neutral and Politically free body. Hopefully, CCI Secretariat would play an important role in unity and cohesion of all the units of the country.