PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday delayed the passage of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in the provincial assembly by requesting the chair to refer it to the house’s committee on law for consideration though no member demanded it.
The chair, Deputy Speaker Dr Mehr Taj Roghani, accepted the request.
As the KPEC amendment bill was on the agenda, lawmakers believed it would be passed by the house.
The bill was tabled in the house on May 6.
Law minister Imtiaz Shahid presented the bill for the house’s deliberation after the chair, Deputy Speaker Dr Mehr Taj Roghani, asked him to do so on behalf of the chief minister.
To the surprise of lawmakers both from the treasury and the opposition, the minister soon after presenting the bill requested the chair to refer it to the house’s committee on law to consult the opposition.
Officials of the assembly secretariat said usually, the house business was referred to the relevant standing committees either for detailed discussion or when members asked for it to talk about some point.
They however said it was unprecedented that the law minister sought the referring of the bill to the committee without the demand of any lawmaker.
“The lawmakers from the opposition often complain about the passage of laws in haste and without their consultation, so this bill may be referred to the committee to take them on board regarding the proposed amendments,” the law minister said.
He said it was necessary to refer the bill to the house committee for improvement.
The bill was referred to the standing committee of the house when the chair put it to vote.
Interestingly, only one lawmaker, Saleem Khan of the PPP, had proposed a single amendment to Clause 17 of the bill, which shows the disinterest of the opposition in legislation, one of the treasury members told Dawn.
If the opposition had any interest in the bill, they would have proposed many amendments, he said.
The present bill is drafted in the light of a report submitted by a committee headed by noted lawyer Hamid Khan.
Chief of the ruling PTI Imran Khan had referred the matter to a party committee for proposing amendments to the law.
The committee was formed following promulgation of a controversial ordinance by the provincial government on Feb 9, through which drastic amendments were made in the KPEC Act, which prompted the then director general, retired Lt-Gen Hamid Khan, to resign.
Through the said ordinance, powers of the five-member Ehtesab Commission were increased specially in the filling of references, arrest of suspects and start of investigation and inquiries.
However, the KP governor withdrew that ordinance on May 2 and thus, restoring the KPEC Act in its previous form.
Earlier, speaking on a point of order, ANP parliamentary secretary Sardar Hussain Babak said the provincial government has been facing worst kind of administrative problems as the government employees and people could be seen protesting every day.
“Over 700 government officers of the Provincial Management Service have been on a pen-down strike for many days and thus, bringing the government’s affairs to a standstill,” he said.
The PMS officers have been demanding the removal of the chief secretary over discrimination against them.
Babak said doctors, teachers and nazims and naib-nazims, too, were protesting the policies of the provincial government.
He also criticised the government for billions of rupees worth of curtailment in the devolved funds allocated for developmental activities in districts.
The ANP leader said there was a tussle among the director of the Anti-Corruption Establishment and chief secretary leading to the removal of the former, who had launched probe into the Billion Tree Tsunami afforestation project.
He said in the past, such incidents were not seen in the administrative affairs of the province.
Babak complained the government had yet to inform the house about the report of inquiry into the Bank of Khyber managing director’s allegation against finance minister Muzaffar Said.
Social welfare minister Aneesa Zaib Tahirkheli tabled the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016.
The session was adjourned until next Monday.