Islamabad      -     Prime Minister Imran Khan has rejected the summary of the ministry of water resource regarding the nomination of federal member of Irsa, and asked the ministry to prepare formal summary in the light of the letter of Sindh chief minister in this regard. Enclosed with the letter of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah regarding the nomination of Federal Member Irsa from Sindh, the Prime Minister office has asked the ministry of water resource that the letter was placed before Prime Minister who has pleased to desire that the formal summary be preferred keeping in view the letter in this regard, official source told The Nation. Following the PM office directives the ministry of Water Resources has asked Irsa to provide its stance on the issue to the ministry. Irsa in its meeting with all the provincial members has deliberated on the matter and provided its input to the Ministry of Water Resource in this regard, said the source.

The stance of Irsa was supported by three out of four members because Punjab has opposed the decision of the rest of the three provinces, said the source. The source said that majority of Irsa member has supported the Sindh’s CM stance and conveyed to the Ministry of water resources that the nomination of Federal Member Irsa from Sindh province was the part of Legal Framework Order (LFO) of the Musharraf government and was therefore part of the constitution. If the federal government wants to change the LFO then it has to refer the matter to the relevant forum (parliament) which has the authority to amend the constitution.  The appointment of Irsa federal member had been marred by controversy once again as instead of accepting the Centre’s government nominees Sindh had last month proposed its own panel of three water experts for the post. Sindh had written a letter to the Prime Minister, after the Federal government delayed the appointment of federal member, asking to appoint a Sindh domiciled expert as Federal Member. The Sindh action was prompted by the federal government’s decision to choose Federal member IRSA from a panel of three people instead of single individual.

To counter the federal government move the Province of Sindh had also proposed a panel of three members to consider for the post of Federal member IRSA, said the source. It is pertinent to mention here that after almost a decade, the government had last month decided to nominate permanent federal member for the Indus River System Authority (IRSA) and proposed the name of Asjad Imtiaz. A summary had been moved by the Water resource ministry to the Prime Minister for the appointment of Asjad Imtiaz, former chairman Federal Flood Commission, as a federal member IRSA.

However the summary was not approved and later the decision was changed and instead of one nominee , a panel of three experts was forwarded to the prime minister for nomination as Federal member IRSA, said the source. However the Prime Minister has returned the summary and asked for a new summary. Chief Minister Sindh, Murad Ali Shah on the other hand had written a letter to the Prime Minister and request him for the appointment of Federal Member. Indus River System Authority (IRSA) from the Sindh Province. Reiterating its earlier stance the province proposes a panel of three experienced engineers for appointment of one of them as Member. Federal IRSA from Sindh Province.

It is also worth to note that the post of permanent federal member in Irsa has been lying vacant since 2010 and the government had asked all the provinces to send the name of their nominee for the slot. Except Sindh, all the provinces sent their names to the Ministry of Water Resources, said the source. Sindh was of the view that the then Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf had told them that the federal member will be from Sindh province, said the source.

In 2000, the then Chief Executive, General Pervez Musharraf had issued the directives that the next federal member in IRSA would be Sindh domicile-holder. Musharraf government had amended the Irsa Act of 1992 to shift the headquarters of the authority from Lahore to Islamabad and to have a Sindh-domiciled member on the authority as its federal member. As a result, Sindh has had two members on the authority for more than a decade. After 2010, the federal government was not ready to give the post to the Sindh origin member and resultantly it was lying vacant.

According to Chapter II of Indus River System Authority Act, 1992, “The Authority shall consist of five members, one each to be nominated by each province and the federal government from amongst high-ranking engineers in irrigation or related engineering fields”. The act further said that the term of office of the chairman shall be one year while that of a member three years and any member shall be eligible for re-appointment for one or more terms or of such shorter term as the provincial government or, as the case may be, the federal government may decide. The chairmanship will be based on rotations. As per the rule, in the absence of a member representing a province, the secretary, and irrigation department of the province shall represent that province in IRSA.

In the absence of a member nominated by the federal government, the chief engineering adviser or his nominee shall represent the federal government. The post of the federal member has been lying vacant since 2010 and Federal Flood Commission (FFC) chairman was representing the federation on adhoc basis.