ISLAMABAD - After the lapse of nine months, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has finally called the meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI) here for today (Wednesday) to take up important issues concerning the provinces pending since long.

Over the past couple of weeks, the government was being grilled over the violation of the Constitution by various quarters for not calling a CCI meeting. A constitutional petition was also filed in Islamabad High Court against this breach of the Constitution, as under Article 154, it is mandatory for the government to summon CCI meeting at least once in 90 days, but it was not called even after the lapse of nine months.

In the wake the mounting pressure, Federal Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada informed the lower house of the Parliament on Tuesday that the CCI meeting had been summoned today (Wednesday) and invitations to all the four chief ministers and other members despatched.

The CCI meeting would likely be taking up important issues pertaining to the ministries and divisions devolved to the provinces in the light of 18th Constitutional Amendment, the much-delayed national census and house count across the country on the basis of which fresh delimitation of the constituencies would be made as well as distribution of assets and liabilities of devolved ministries among the provinces.

The council would also review implementation of its earlier decisions taken at the previous meetings. It will also discuss among other things matters pertaining to allocation of water for Islamabad and Rawalpindi, Pakistan Energy Efficiency and Conservation Bill, 2014, Power Generation Policy, 2015, shale gas framework and annual report of Nepra.

Talking to The Nation, a ruling party parliamentarian said the government wanted to hold census across the country, mandatory for delimitation of constituencies and preparation of fresh voter lists, but the CCI meeting could not be held for so long due to KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak who refused to attend whenever he was extended invitation by the federal government.

He further said the matter of holding census was on the agenda of the last meeting of CCI held on May 29 last year and it had been decided at the meeting that the matter would be discussed thoroughly in the next meeting of the council which could not take place due to non-cooperative attitude of Pervaiz Khattak.

It is pertinent to mention here that before the launch of their protest rallies and sit-in in the federal capital which had lasted over three months, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan had announced KP Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak would not attend any meeting under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as, according to him, he came into power through rigged elections.

Since then Chief Minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa had not been attending any official meeting chaired by Nawaz Sharif except the one called for polio eradication.

CCI-RELATED ISSUES DISCUSSED

Staff Reporter from Peshawar adds: A meeting of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to discuss issues pertaining to the Council of Common Interests (CCI) was held Tuesday here with Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak in the chair.Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Amjad Ali Khan, Secretary to CM Dr Shahzad Bangash, Secretary Inter Provincial Coordination Tariq Jameel and other concerned officers attended the meeting. The matters with regard to federal government with reference to rights of the province came under discussion during the meeting. It reviewed in detail the current position of federal government commitments extended to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government at CCI level regarding various issues of public interests.

The chief minister on this occasion particularly discussed the matters relating to power generation, exploration of natural resources, federal and the provincial government responsibilities in the wake of 18th constitution amendment, higher education and salary and other benefits for lady health workers.