The Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) unanimously passed the “Prevention of Cruelty on Animals” act on Wednesday.
Under the new law, the trade of wild animals’ hides and activities like dog-fighting have been banned and violators are liable to punishment and even imprisonment.
However, Regional Law Minister Wazir Shakeel, who earlier tabled the act, lambasted the federal government for restricting the assembly’s role to lawmaking on subjects like animals’ rights.
“This is not fair. The powers for legislation on important subjects that could benefit the region should be delegated to the assembly instead of the G-B Council,” said Shakeel.
He said that GBLA is a forum of public representatives and should hence be strengthened.
Furthermore, he asked the lawmakers to table a resolution in the house in favour of more powers of legislation to the assembly.
He added that they would take up the matter with the federal government.
Under the Self Rule and Empowerment Order 2009, the powers to legislate on topics like minerals, tourism and forests rest with the G-B Council — the upper house chaired by the prime minister.
In the absence of Speaker Wazir Baig, the session was conducted by Speaker Jamil Ahmed.
During question-hour session, the lawmakers urged the government to settle the issue of contract employees.
The opposition leader, Janbaz Khan, and independent lawmakers Raziuddin Rizvi and Didar Ali said that the government had promised to regularise those contract employees who had served in government departments for more than two years.
“There are reports that the contract employees are planning to resort to court for that purpose. The assembly should take up their issue as a priority,” said the opposition leader.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2012.
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