A day after Prime Minister Imran Khan rewarded top-performing ministries and divisions with appreciation certificates, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi expressed his reservations for not including the foreign ministry among the top slot, questioning the grading mechanism.
The premier had awarded certificates to the heads of top-10 ministries and divisions on a good performance and achieving targets. PM Imran congratulated Communications Minister Murad Saeed for achieving the top position, saying that the youngest member of his cabinet had performed well.
In order of performance, the top ministries are communications; planning and development; poverty alleviation and social safety division; education and professional training; human rights, industries and production; national security division; commerce; interior, and national food security and research.
Read more: PM rewards top performing ministers
Later in the day, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had also said that the prime minister had committed a great injustice to Multan by not awarding a certificate to FM Qureshi, who hailed from the city, while distributing performance certificates among his “lackeys”.
“On one hand, the government boasts about a successful foreign policy and the recent Chinese visit but on the other, deprives the foreign minister of a certificate.”
In a letter to Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Establishment Mohammad Shehzad Arbab, Qureshi expressed his reservation after the foreign ministry was given 11th rank.
He said that the foreign ministry had achieved 22 out of the 26 targets and 18 out of the 24 targets as per the performance agreement during the first quarter, adding that the foreign ministry also carried out high-level activities during this period.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs raises questions on the method of grading. It should be clarified under which method the grading of ministries was done,” the foreign minister further said in the letter.
‘Bilawal still a child’
Responding to Bilawal’s remarks, FM Qureshi, in a statement, said that Bilawal has still a bit of childhood left in him, adding that he is given written notes and he merely reads them.
“As time goes by, Bilawal will understand that South Punjab will not become a province just by criticism,” he added.
Qureshi said that the South Punjab province would only be formed through a constitutional amendment. “My question is whether Bilawal is ready to cooperate with us for a constitutional amendment? If we want to make South Punjab province a reality, then let’s amend the constitution together. I am presenting the bill. If your intentions are clear, then give your vote and give South Punjab its due rights.”
Earlier, the foreign minister had urged President Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shehbaz Sharif and Bilawal urging them to cooperate on legislation regarding the establishment of the new South Punjab province.
Also read: Transforming governance through Performance Agreements
Qureshi’s letter, written as the vice-chairperson of the ruling PTI, was in continuation of the letter sent on January 19, which drew attention towards the longstanding and important matter pertaining to the creation of a separate province of South Punjab.
“As Vice-Chairman of PTI, I invited you to provide input on the way forward for reaching consensus on the formulation of a Constitution amendment bill for the creation of a separate province of South Punjab. Furthermore, I requested that two members be nominated for inclusion in a committee dedicated to the task of formulating a draft amendment bill for parliament,” the letter stated.