ISLAMABAD - The Council of Common Interests (CCI) has asked the Ministry of Water Resources to submit recommendations of the Inquiry Committee about the Kachhi Canal corruption to the cabinet after completion of the consultative process within fortnight and submit the report in the next CCI meeting.

The Planning Commission proposed to the CCI the establishment of four Provincial Education Councils under the umbrella of HEC, official sources told The Nation Wednesday.

The government is considering various proposals to hold the next general elections on the basis of 6th population census, including to make an amendment to the constitution, for holding the upcoming elections on the basis of provisional results. During the CCI meeting, it was also considered that additional scanners with manpower and financial resources may be provided to the Statistics Division to complete their census work by December 2017.

The Chief Census Commission PBS while briefing the CCI meeting on the provisional results of the Census 2017 informed that the final results will be available by April 2018.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar raised the point that the delay in declaring final results may have serious complications for holding general elections in 2018 as under article 51(5) of the constitution, the general elections are required to be conducted on the basis of population in accordance with the last published census, sources added.

Ishaq Dar proposed that a constitutional amendment to permit holding general elections on the basis of provisional results may be considered, they added. Secretary to the Prime Minister proposed that additional scanners with manpower and financial resources may be provided to the Statistics Division to complete its work by December 2017.

The CCI decided that the IPCC will examine the matter, from all angles, including among others the constitutional amendment as well as enhancing resources in consultation with the Election Commission of Pakistan so that the next general elections could be held on the basis of the final results of 6th Population Census. The CCI further directed the IPCC to submit its report in its next meeting. The Census is on the agenda of the IPCC which is meeting here today, the sources said.

On the issue of Higher Education Commission (HEC), the CCI directed the sub-committee on CCI to finalise the issue at the earliest as the same has already been delayed inordinately. Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz suggested the establishment of four Provincial Education Councils under the umbrella of HEC.

Chairman of the Sub-committee on CCI Ahsan Iqbal informed the CCI that all the provinces, except Sindh, have proposed retaining HEC on the ground that its devolution will result in different education standards in the country and will also create problems in international accreditation of the Pakistan degrees, they said.

The Sindh chief minister stated that the CCI in its 31st meeting had directed the sub-committee to submit its report and discussion would follow after submission of the report. Further, he stated, the constitution requires devolution of the HEC and there was no reason to retain it at the federal level, sources said.

It was decided that the matter being sub-judice in the Supreme Court of Pakistan may be kept pending till a final decision of the apex court. The council however decided that the IPCC will examine the issues pertaining to HEC and other similar bodies in post 18th amendment scenario to build consensus among all stakeholders and submit recommendations to CCI.

Regarding Kacchi Canal corruption enquiry, Secretary Water Resources Division informed the CCI that they are working on the recommendation of the inquiry committee and after completion of the consultative process, which is likely to be finalised in a couple of months, the case shall be submitted to the cabinet. The minister for interior pointed out that the issue has also been taken up at the forum of National Economic Council (NEC) and conflicting decision may occur.

The CCI asked the Ministry of Water Resources to submit the recommendations of the Inquiry Committee to the cabinet after completion of the consultative process within fortnight and submit report in the next CCI meeting.