KARACHI   -  The Sindh cabinet on Saturday decided to impose a ban on purchase of new vehicles for officials for three years and phase out use of polythene bags within three months.  The cabinet also decided to release 12 ailing prisoners and form a committee to review amendments to the police transfers and postings law.  These decisions were taken at a meeting chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and attended by ministers, advisers, special assistants and government officials, Murtaza Wahab, adviser to the chief minister on information, told the media during a briefing at the Sindh Secretariat on Saturday.


The provincial cabinet, during the meeting, approved a proposal to authorise the governor, the chief minister, assembly speaker, chief justice of the Sindh High Court, chief secretary, inspector general of the Sindh Police and two additional inspectors general to use armoured vehicles.

The ministers or any officers identified to have threat would be provided an armoured vehicle available in the pool. The chief minister was told that there were 28 vehicles of 1800cc available in the pool for ministers. Most of the vehicles have already been allotted to ministers.

Speaking about this, Wahab said that the cabinet has imposed a ban on the purchase of new vehicles for three years. The Sindh government wants to introduce a policy in which a 17 grade officer will be offered a vehicle on lease and he would be given ownership of vehicle after submitting all instalments. The concerned officer would also be responsible for maintenance of vehicle.


The cabinet was told that almost every piece of plastic ever made still exists in the environment and its use has been increasing by 10 percent every year for 20 years.  “The estimated use of plastic bags in the country by 2018-19 will be 140 billion,” the meeting was informed. On this, the chief minister called for ban on plastic bags under the Sindh Environment Protection (SEP) Act 2014.

The adviser on information said that a ban on purchase, use, manufacturing and import of plastic bags is recommended to improve environment. The decision would be implemented in phases within three months, he said. In the first phase, he said, the Sukkur region has been selected and in the next phase a complete ban on non-degradable polythene bags would be ensured in Karachi and Hyderabad regions and rest of the Sindh province.  He said that traders of polythene and plastic bags would be engaged in this regard and added that the federal government would be approached to increase import duty on the polythene bags to discourage its import.


The Sindh cabinet approved three bills for their introduction in the assembly for approval. They are Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Institute of Trauma (SMBBIT) in Karachi, Sindh Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases and Sindh Institute of Child Health And Neonatology (SICHN).

Regarding the trauma centre, he said it had been approved by the cabinet and added that the institute was now authorized to launch postgraduate programmes like FSPS, MS, MD, PhD in artho surgery, neurosurgery, traumalogy and emergency medicine.  The Sindh Institute of Child Health And Neonatology would also establish its satellite centres like NICVD, serve as teaching hospital and offer diplomas in different fields.


He informed that it was also agreed to form a committee to review the Sindh Police (transfers and postings) draft.


Wahab said during the briefing that the Sindh cabinet also gave approval for release of 12 ailing and elderly prisoners on the recommendation of a committee on humanitarian grounds.  He said the Supreme Court of Pakistan had also given a judgement in this regard. He said the committee had reviewed 27 such cases and recommended release of 12 prisoners. “The released prisoners will be under a watchful eye,” he said and added that a list of more ailing prisoners is being sought by the chief minister. He said a decision would be taken on recommendation of medical committees.  He said the chief minister of Sindh wanted to change the name of the prisons department and give the prisons police status of a special force.

Recruitment rules for the prisons inspector general and deputy inspector general were also discussed at the cabinet meeting and it was pointed out that the caretaker government had made an amendment to Rule 890 for which it was not competent. The cabinet after discussion restored the original Rule 890 with a slight amendment and now the prisons IG shall be appointed by promotion from amongst the deputy inspectors general of prison.


The food department requested the cabinet to approve wheat price at Rs3150 (packed in plastic bag) and Rs3250 (packed in jute bag). Subsidy of Rs7.656 billion may also be approved in order to retire the commercial banks borrowing.

The chief minister constituted a committee under Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah to meet traders and department people and give his recommendation for what price. The adviser said the cabinet also approved constitution of Board of Sindh Child Protection Authority and directed the secretary of the Social Welfare Department to purpose names for the board.