Instead of discussing controversial amendment ordinances as per the agenda, Monday’s assembly session turned into a condolence reference for the late MPA, Arbab Akbar Hayat.
Hayat died of a heart attack on Wednesday, March 16. Flowers and candles were placed at his seat in the house. Each MPA who spoke was all praises for him, referring to him as the one who brought the house to life.
Dedicated to the dead and dying
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser set aside the agenda for the day and dedicated Monday’s moot to Hayat, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s sole lawmaker from Peshawar.
Opposition leader Maulana Lutfur Rahman of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) led the prayers for Hayat. The house also prayed for photojournalist Sikandar Shah who died on Monday after struggling with injuries sustained in an accident. Prayers were also said for the people who died in recent incidents of militancy.
Rahman praised Hayat for being a cheerful person who maintained cordial relations with every member of the house, regardless of his or her political affiliations.
He then asked Qaiser to dedicate a day for a detailed discussion on the law and order situation of the province. The speaker accepted the request, announcing on Tuesday (today), the house will discuss the issue and asked all provincial ministers to come prepared on the tabled item.
Forward with positivity
Sardar Aurangzeb Nalotha, the parliamentary leader of PML-N, lit candles and shared his grief over the MPA’s sudden death. JI’s Inayatullah Khan said Hayat was the fourth member of the house who had passed away during the current government. “He was a charming and cheerful man,” he said.
Awami National Party parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak, shared the time he spent with Hayat. “In the previous meeting, he was looking upset [...] He said he was not feeling well but I was shocked when I learned of his demise.”
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Shah Farman called upon the house members to adopt his cheerful persona and follow his footsteps when politicking.
“Though he was a member of PML-N, he proved himself to be a member of the house more than being a member of a party,” Farman said. “We have little reasons to rejoice and more to be sorrowful. But we should adopt Hayat’s outlook on life.” He praised all four members of the house who died recently.
The ordinances that were to be changed into acts included the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Universities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016 and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms (Amendment) Ordinance, 2016. Both were listed on the agenda for Monday’s meeting. However, they will be discussed at a later date.
The PTI-led K-P government drastically changed the universities act, 2012 in May 2015, making 22 amendments in various sections. These pertained to the removal of the vice chancellor, the VC’s selection criteria, reducing his or her tenure to three years, empowering the chancellor to remove the VC without the university’s senate and empowering the senate to remove the VC by simple majority rather than two-thirds.
Currently, nine universities in the province are being run by an acting VC. However, the amendment relaxed the criteria to appoint a VC.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2016.