Balochistan Assembly passes amended local govt law

Approves 19 standing committees; defers Balochistan Education Foundation Act

Mohammad Zafar March 31, 2019
Balochistan Assembly. PHOTO: EXPRESS

QUETTA: The provincial assembly on Saturday unanimously approved the Balochistan Local Government (LG) Act 2019 in an effort to empower the system in the province.

After debate on the newly-amended LG act, the house unanimously approved the act moved by Provincial Minister for Local Government Sardar Saleh Bhootani during the session chaired by Speaker Abdul Quddus Bizenjo.

Moreover, the speaker deferred the Balochistan Education Foundation Act tabled by Adviser to Chief Minister on Secondary Education Muhammad Khan Lehri, as the opposition attempted to halt assembly proceedings.

The act is aimed at fostering registration and regulation of private and government educational institutions.

Later, the adviser urged the house to start debate on an adjournment motion over the Sanjavi incident.

Balochistan Assembly expresses solidarity with Pak Army

Calling for the debate, Awami National Party’s (ANP) Asghar Khan Achakzai said people in the area had been protesting and had also called a strike since the incident was reported.

The house should start debate on the incident in order to address the demands of protesters, he added.

Sharing views on a point of order, CM’s Spokesperson Bushra Rind lamented the relentless delay in starting assembly proceeding and requested the speaker to take immediate notice.

To this, Speaker Bizenjo said the provincial government should nominate a chief whip, adding that the government’s weakness was causing delay in assembly proceedings.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) Syed Fazal Agha said delay in assembly proceedings annoyed the members and journalists, therefore, the bad precedent should be ended.

“We have been submitting our questions for last six months but the treasury is yet to submit their answers, negating the government’s stance of mega development in the province,” said Agha.

Standing committees

The Balochistan Assembly also approved 19 standing committees of the house with chairpersons, ending a prolonged hiatus and opposition’s concern over the matter.

ANP’s Asghar Achakzai is the chairperson of the Standing Committee for Planning and Development. Provincial Minister Asadullah Baloch, Nawabzada Tariq Magsi, Bushra Rind, Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind, Asghar Tareen and Sanaullah Baloch have been inducted as members.

The Standing Committee for Housing and Physical Planning, Highways and Construction is led by MPA Muhammad Raheem Mengal. Haji Muhammad Nawaz, Syed Fazal Agha, Ahmed Nawaz Baloch, Nasrullay Zeray, Dinesh Kumar and Nawabzada Gohram Bugti are its members.

The Standing Committee for Information, Sports, Tourism, Museums and Libraries will be headed by Fareeda Bibi and the members are Nawabzada Gohram Bugti, Meer Naimat Zehri, Noor Muhammad Dummar, Muhammad Khan Tor Otmankhail, Shakeela Naveed and Mukhi Sham Lal.

The Standing Committee for Social Welfare, Zakat, Minority Affairs, Hajj and Youth Affairs would be presided over by Ahmed Nawaz Baloch, whereas it will include Molvi Noorullah, Zubeda Khair Khuwa, Titas Johnsen, Nasrullah Zeray, Muhammad Arif Muhammad Hassani and Muhammad Khan Lehri.

The Standing Committee for Home and Tribal Affairs, Prisons and Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) would be headed by Laila Tareen. Sardar Sarfaraz Chakar Domki, Fareeda Bibi, Sardar Abdullah Rehman Kethran, Mitha Khan Kakar, Haji Muhammad Nawaz and Meer Akbar Mengal will be the members.

The Standing Committee for Health and Population is headed by Dr Rubaba Khan. Arif Muhammad Hassani, Engineer Zamrak Khan Achakzai, Zahoor Buledi, Sardar Saleh Bhootani, Meer Hamal Kalmati and Zubeda Khair Khuwa are members.

The Standing Committee for Education, Literacy, Presidential Programme CDWA, Quality Education and Science and Information Technology would be headed by Abdul Wahid Siddiqui. The other members are Meer Zahid Raiki, Shakeela Naveed, Zeenat Shahwani, Banokhail, Umar Khan Jamali and Bushra Rind.

Masood Khan Loni, Mir Akbar Askani, Malik Naeem Bazai, Saleem Khosa, Syed Fazal Agha and Malik Naseer Shahwani have been inducted as members of the Standing Committee for Local Government, BDA, Gawadar Development Authority and Urban Planning and Development. It will be led by MPA Qadir Ali Nail.

The Standing Committee for Quetta Greater Water Supply Project would be headed by Molvi Noorullah with Muhammad Raheem Mengal, Haji Muhammad Nawaz, Sanaullah Baloch, Mubeen Khan Khilji and Meer Naseebullah Marri are its members.

The Standing Committee for Irrigation and Energy, Environment and Wildlife would be presided over by Muhammad Akbar Mengal with Meer Zahid Ali Reki, Syed Fazal Agha, Meer Hamal Kalmati, Zeenat Shahwani, Muhammad Khan Lehri and Umar Khan Jamali as members.

The house also unanimously approved separate resolutions to elect the members and heads of the new committees.

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Special Assistant to Prime Minister and parliamentary leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Sardar Yar Muhammad Rind has said all constituencies should be given equal importance, whether of the opposition or the treasury.

Rind said, “We haven’t seen an example of an hour-long speech in the National and provincial assemblies because lengthy debates wouldn’t let other members to share their views during the sessions”.

He urged the speaker to avoid allowing members, including the CM, to speak for an hour.

“I will continue efforts to address public issues in Balochistan under my capacity and power. As minister in Musharraf government I served people of my province without any difference,” said Rind.

Urging the members to maintain respect of the house, Rind said, “We all have to sustain the honour of this house and government should treat all members equally.”

He said, “I was the only members in this house who didn’t receive a single penny when other MPAs and ministers were given more than Rs1 billion development funds.”