Sindh unhappy with centre taking back National Museum | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Sindh unhappy with centre taking back National Museum

Imtiaz Ali

Karachi: The Sindh government appears unhappy over the recent decision to give control of the National Museum of Pakistan and the Central Archaeological Library in Karachi to the federal government as its officials believed that such a move is not only unconstitutional, but also goes against the devolution process, officials said.

“The centre cannot hold the control of those institutions that have been devolved to the provinces,” said Secretary Department of Antiquities Dr Kaleemullah Lashari.

He told The News that the official concerned of the Sindh government was not present in the Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) division meeting that recommended handing over control of the museums and archaeological libraries to the federal government.

Lashari revealed that subsequently, the IPC division sent a letter to the Sindh government with the minutes of the meeting and the department of antiquities, in its reply, contended that handing over control of the museum would be “unconstitutional”.

To a question, Dr Kaleemullah Lashari assured that Sindh had the efficiency and human resource to care for museums and other archaeological sties in Sindh. He recalled that when the National Museum of Pakistan of Karachi was devolved to the Sindh, two schemes for its repair and maintenance had been initiated while funds and resources had also been increased by the provincial government.

Lashari, who is also the former secretary of the IPC department Sindh, disclosed that a summary was moved to the chief minister of Sindh on March 19, against the creation of seven ministries after the devolution process. The ministries include national harmony, human resource and others.

He believed that these ministries were unconstitutional. Lashari maintained that the prime minister cannot create a ministry, through an executive order, for those subjects that have been devolved to the provinces. The secretary said that if the summary is approved, the Sindh government will take up the matter in the next meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

The IPC ministry meeting on January 24, while recommending that the provinces take over all remaining archeological sites, said that the museums and libraries will continue to remain with the federal government. These recommendations were followed by a debate on post-devolution issues.

The secretary of the IPC division informed the participants that the Federal Museums Compensation Cell and the Central Archaeological Library, Karachi, were retained by the federal government due to their “national importance”.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Punjab government pointed out that issues related to archeological sites were discussed in the CCI Standing Committee meeting on December 24, 2012, during which the provincial governments agreed to examine and provide comments on the claims of the Centre’s Directorate General of Archeology in light of the Constitution.

He contended that so far, 11 archeological sites of Punjab, along with 350 personnel, had been devolved to provincial government, whereas, the centre was yet to devolve 144 other such locations.

However, the additional secretary of the cabinet division stated that if the Punjab government wanted to take control of the National Colleges of Arts in Lahore and Rawalpindi, respectively, the cabinet division would have no objection.

EPI

Apart from archeological sites, the IPC meeting also debated over the issue of devolving health institutions.

The secretary of the Ministry of IPC informed the participants that four vertical health programmes, such as EPI, HIV/Aids, Malaria and TB Control, were devolved and coordination with the Centre was limited to international partners/donors, whereas the responsibility to implementation lay with the provinces.

However, following a request from the provincial governments, the ministry of the IPC is currently in the process of procuring vaccines for the current financial year as the provinces were unable to get their hands on the drugs.

Furthermore, the project of EPI is only scheduled to last up to June 30, 2013.

The IPC meeting was also informed that the PM’s Programme for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis, National Programme for Prevention and Control of Blindness and LHW programme were devolved to the provinces.

The meeting recommended that while current programmes of health projects will continue under the federal government till June 2015, EPI procurements will be taken over by the provinces from June 2013.

However, the additional secretary of the cabinet division stated that the Tobacco Control Cell cannot be devolved to the provinces as it is an “international obligation.”

Source: The News

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