Cabinet decides to reinstate employees sacked in 1996-98

By Asim Yasin           
Thursday, November 06, 2008

ISLAMABAD [the tenth largest city in Pakistan]: The federal cabinet [of Islamabad] on Wednesday decided, in principle, to reinstate all the sacked employees in government departments recruited during the period November 1993 to November 1996 and removed during the period November 1996 to December 1998 with seniority and back date financial benefits and constituted a multi-party ministerial committee to work out the financial implications of the decision.

“To oversee the cabinet decision, a ministerial committee, headed by Mian Raza Rabbani, has been constituted to work out financial implications of the decision. Other members of the committee are Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, Manzoor Wattoo, Syed Naveed Qamar, Sherry Rehman, Rehmatullah Kakar, Shaukat Tareen and Justice (retd) Abdul Razzak A Thahim,” said Information Minister Sherry Rehman while briefing media persons here on Wednesday, along with newly-appointed Minister of State for Information Sumsam Bukhari.

It was the first cabinet meeting after its expansion that was chaired by Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani. Briefing media persons, Sherry Rehman said that the sacked employees of Sui Southern Gas Company were also included in the package.

Replying to a volley of question regarding the financial implications of the cabinet decision to reinstate all government employees sacked after dismissal of Pakistan People’s Party government in 1996, she said the committee has been tasked to oversee the decision of the cabinet and workout the financial implications.

“The PPP had pledged in its manifesto to reinstate the sacked workers and it would implement the decision regardless of the financial implications. Finances would be carved out in the light of proposals of the committee,” she said.

Defending the heavy size cabinet that came under criticism from many quarters, the minister said when 15 federal ministers were doing work of 50 ministries, voices were raised against not completing the cabinet. “The federal ministers get salaries lesser than MNAs, MPAs and senators and even the salary of prime minister stands at Rs79,000 approximately while MPAs were drawing salaries in six figures with TA/DAs,” she said in a lighter vein.

Sherry Rehman said the prime minister has directed his ministers to make foreign trips only if absolutely necessary. She asked all the ministers to follow the precept of prime minister and come out with proposals for reduction of the non-development budget in their ministries.

She said the cabinet has also discussed a proposal to set up separate organisation for the housing needs of the federal ministers, ministers of state and parliamentarians. She said the cabinet also approved to enact legislation on sexual harassment at workplace.

“The legislation titled ‘Protection from Harassment at Workplace Act (PHWA),’ also includes amendments in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrCP),” she added.

She said the PHWA Act incorporates three elements and it proposes a Code of Conduct for protection from Sexual Harassment, it envisages inquiry committee to deal with sexual harassment complaints as well as an appellate authority to meet the ends of justice. She said the PHWA requires the employers to implement the Act, incorporate the Code of Conduct for Protection from Sexual Harassment as a part of their management policy. “The amendments outline definition of sexual harassment and also increase the maximum punishment for such acts from one year to three year,” she added.

She said the cabinet reviewed relief measures for the victims of Balochistan earthquake and it was informed that the National Disaster Management Authority had moved a huge stock of relief goods/items from Karachi to Quetta.

She said the government would be dispatching another 30,000 tents and 100,000 blankets to the province.She said the prime minister will soon visit the earthquake-hit areas of Balochistan. She added that the prime minister also directed the Army to survey the collapsed houses so that the government could reconstruct them. She said a number of countries have sent relief goods for the quake victims of Balochistan. The US is sending aid worth $2.5 million, Saudi Arabia has pledged $100 million while the Chinese and Malaysian governments have also committed aid for quake victims.

Sherry Rehman said that the prime minister was informed during the cabinet meeting that load-shedding had been brought down to the minimum. “There has been increase in water releases from the Mangla Dam, while the government has also disbursed Rs60 billion to independent power producers (IPPs). There has also been an ease in the supply of furnace oil moderating pressure on power generation activity,” she added.

The minister said that Pakistan would also be introducing ‘Smart Electricity Meters (SEM)’ to eliminate complaints of inflated and manipulated billing. On the continued attacks of the US into the Pakistan territory, she said the cabinet and government shared same views that have already been stated by the president and the prime minister in their statements.

She said that a relief package of Rs 1.2 billion was also approved by the cabinet for the textile sector and relief in the interest rate for loan to spinning sector and R&D support to textile and clothing industry. “The government had also subsidised mark-up rate to the spinning mills for one year.

She said the cabinet approved, in principle, negotiations between Pakistan and Bulgaria for an agreement in economic cooperation. The agreement envisages establishment of a joint commission between the two countries for enhancing greater bilateral economic cooperation. She said that similar negotiations were also approved between Pakistan and Romania.

Original full version found at on 17 January 2010