ISLAMABAD, March 26th, 2014: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly witnessed a productive session by passing fifteen bills. One ordinance was laid in the House but not yet passed as a bill. The House also unanimously adopted three resolutions and took up seven calling attention notices amid low attendance of the lawmakers, says Free and Fair Election Network in its preliminary report.
There were seven sittings in the 11th session of KP Assembly and the session was held from 11-21st March, 2014. Each sitting lasted for an hour and 45 minutes on average. All seven sittings, on average, remained 43 minutes behind schedule.
The details of the fifteen passed bills are given below:
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tibb & Homeopathic Employees (Regularization of Services) Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Farm Services Center Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Food Security Authority Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tenancy (Amendment) Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Restriction of Rented Building Security Act, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Private Partnership Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Journalist Welfare Endowment Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organization (Amendment) Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical Transplantation Regulatory Authority Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Hotels Restriction (Security) Act, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance (Amendment) Act, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa River Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Surrender of Illicit Arms Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2014
- The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Housing Authority Amendment Bill, 2014
With deteriorating law and order situation and increasing terrorists’ attacks in the province, the government passed three bills to address these urgent security concerns. These bills are: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Restriction of Rented Building Security Act, 2014; The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Hotels Restriction (Security) Act, 2014; and The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Surrender of Illicit Arms Bill, 2014.
Several passed bills focused on good governance by regulating government institutions in different fields of farm services, food security, public private partnership, medical transplantation, energy development and tenancy. One key bill in governance, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2014, seeks to make changes in the seats allotment of the tehsil councils in Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Kohistan, Lower Kohistan, Nowshera and Jehangira.
Some of the other bills were on regularizing contractual employees of Tibb and Homeopathic, establishing journalist endowment fund and a housing authority.
Four resolutions were tabled during the session and three of them were adopted by the House. A jointly tabled resolution by the members of PTI, JI, JUI-F, PML-N, QWP, ANP, PPPP and AJIP was unanimously adopted in the House asking the federal government to fulfil the demands of journalists regarding their salaries and provide them security/facilities. Through another jointly tabled resolution, the House unanimously gave approval to rename the province as Hazara Pakhtunkhwa. This resolution was sponsored by the members of PTI, JI, JUI-F and PML-N.
A PTI member singly sponsored a resolution regarding setting up of a commission to look into establishment of new Hazara province.
Calling Attention Notices: Of the twelve calling attention notices (CANs) submitted in the House, only seven were taken up on the floor. Some CANs focused on establishment of special education school and allocation of gas royalties for health and education. Other CANs were complaints against non-issuance of driving licenses in Abbottabad; vacant posts of teachers in the KP; and deduction of general provident fund (instead of contributory provident fund) from the salary of employees.
Points of Order:
Members raised ten points of orders consuming 4% of the total session time.
Session Time and Attendance:
The parliamentary leader of QWP remained more punctual who attended five sittings, followed by AJIP (four), PPPP (three), ANP (three) and JI (two). Low attendance of leaders of JUI-F, PML-N and APML was observed as they were present in a single sitting only during the session.
The Chief Minister attended five sitting in all whereas the Leader of the House abstained from the entire session. The Speaker presided over 46% of the proceedings while 25% of the proceedings were chaired by the Deputy Speaker. The remaining time – 21% of the session was consumed by prayer breaks.
As the KP Assembly does not make the attendance record of its members public. The FAFEN observer conducts a headcount of lawmakers at the beginning and end of the proceedings. On average, 47 members were present at the outset of a sitting and 56 at the end, while three minority members were present in each sitting on average.
Order and Institutionalization:
Quorum was pointed out twice during the session. Once during the third sitting, a female PML-N member pointed out the missing quorum which was found complete on counting. The quorum was again pointed out the second time by a male member of PML-N during the seventh sitting. The Chairman ordered the bells to ring for two minutes and sitting was resumed once the quorum was complete.
The only instance of walkout was witnessed by the female lawmaker of PML-N. She walked out against the continuation of proceedings despite lack of quorum pointed out by the member.
The preliminary report is based on direct observation of KP Assembly proceedings conducted by Paiman Trust, a member organization of FAFEN.
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