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    Wednesday, 9 May 2018

    Jobs quota revival for S Punjab mere an election slogan

    The implementation on the Punjab cabinet’s decision to restore 20 percent jobs quota for the people of three divisions of South Punjab is being seen difficult in the given situation.
    There are legal and administrative obstacles in the way of implementation of the cabinet decision at this stage as the government term is going to end in a couple of weeks and a new political scenario is emerging on the political horizon on the demand of making south Punjab a separate province.
    Legal experts say the Punjab cabinet is authorized to take decisions on the matters necessary to run the government affairs, but they are divided over the jobs quota on various grounds. To them the jobs quota decision for South Punjab sounds not more than a slogan to win favour of the people of the area when the elections are just months away. Vice President of PTI Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi,Ijaz Janjua, and Khalid Javed Waraich, Pakistan People's Party's Babu Nafees Ahmed Ansari Advocate, Senior Politician Allah Nawaz Khan Durrani APML's leader Mirza Farooq Jan,JI's Asid Mehmood Ikhwani,Pakistan Muslim League(Quaid-i-Azam)'s Human Rights wing provincial President Tariq Zaman Gujjar, PML-N Multan President Bilal Butt have stated that now it had been proved that Punjab Government had deprived the South Punjab of its lawful right of jobs for the last five years. Scores of educated youth committed suicide due to joblessness. Many families destroyed, Thousands of youth spent hundreds of thousand rupees on their test fee time and again since 2013.
    Former Supreme Court Bar President Barrister Ali Zafar says allocation of quota for jobs has been discouraged through two decisions of the Supreme Court passed in 2013 and 2016. According to him, the apex court did not favour allocation of jobs quota as it suppresses merit and open competition. However, the court has set very strict lines which relate to wider national interests like jobs for Fata people to bring them into the mainstream. Even in that case, the court had required the government to give solid reasons for the allocation jobs quota, Ali Zafar added.
    Former acting Punjab advocate general Muhammad Hanif Khatana opines allocation of jobs quota through executive order is against the Constitution which authorises the federal government only to allow quota and that too through legislation. In his view, implementation of the decision also needs steps which are not possible without proper legislation.
    Another senior lawyer Muhammad Azhar Siddiq says the Punjab government cannot approve jobs quota through an executive order because legislation is required for it as was done in the Local Bodies Ordinance. He states the Punjab government action is open to judicial scrutiny as allocation of full-fledged quota for all cadres is a federal subject covered under Article 27 of the Constitution.
    A senior officer of the Punjab government supported the executive authority of the Punjab government to take such a decision. He strengthened his point of view from the five percent quota in jobs already allocated for South people and women. However, he says, suspicions may be cast on the move on the ground of timing of the decision.
    The legal experts hold a dominant view that for effective implementation of the cabinet decision, amendment in the Punjab Public Service Commission rules will be necessary. The PPSC at present considers Punjab as a single unit for the purpose of providing jobs.
    Lawmaking will also need to determine whether appointments will be specific for South Punjab or for South people residing anywhere in the province. Then procedural matters will also be decided through legislation. And how the government will deal with all this when assemblies are going to complete their terms is also a question. They say the present decision is just an announcement by the government and what actually happens is up to the next interim government.
    It may be mentioned that in 2014 a move was made for legislation on allocating 17.5 percent jobs for South Punjab people out of the 50 percent share of Punjab from the federal side. This percentage was worked out as per the South population of 35 million and NA strength of 46 seats. For this purpose, an amendment in Article 27(1) of the Constitution was mandatory, but this article itself called for extension after it lapsed after meeting 20 years period set for the provincial quota. But no action was taken on this move by the Parliament. And if the PPSC law is amended, the South people will remain subject to old law as to the federal job as there will be no amendment in the FPSC rules to provide jobs to the South people.
    Janoobi Punjab Muttahida Mahaaz (JPSM) has rejected the Punjab government’s decision restoring 20 percent quota of jobs for the south Punjab.
    “We want nothing short of a separate province. We don’t want any quota system. We want our 100 percent rights and this is possible only through creation of a separate province”, JPSM Secretary General Tahir Bashir Cheema said in a statement.
    He further stated that people of Janoobi Punjab were not happy with the “lollipop” offered by the ruling party. He said the government was trying to befool the people of South Punjab yet again.
    “Had it not been such a movement in the form of JPSM, the Punjab cabinet would not have taken this decision,” he observed, adding the efforts made by the JPSM were bearing fruits now.
    Cheema said the decision had come at a time when the government was about to complete its tenure. “Such political slogans cannot stop the creation of Janoobi Punjab province”, he averred. He said the JPSM had been created on the one-point agenda of creating a province and would cease to exist after completion of the set agenda.
    He advised the ruling party to take practical steps for the creation of the province during the remaining part of its tenure, failing which its candidates would not be welcomed to the region in the coming elections.
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