PESHAWAR: The provincial assembly on Monday adopted a resolution to provide internet connectivity to the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas (Fata) as the house unanimously adopted four resolutions.
The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly resumed its session on Monday morning with Panel of the Chairpersons member Babar Saleem Swati in the chair as he filled in for both the speaker and deputy speaker.
The meeting started with K-P Law Minister Sultan Muhammad Khan presenting the National Disaster Management (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa) Amendment Bill 2019. The amendment enables the Relief and Restoration Department secretary to term the entire province or any part as disaster-hit in case of a catastrophe.
In such a situation, the district administration and elected municipal representatives will be bound to co-operate with the secretary.
Awami National Party (ANP) Parliamentary Leader Sardar Hussain Babak introduced a resolution calling for the resumption of internet and mobile services in the ex-Fata areas, particularly for government offices. The resolution was adopted.
Opposition members alleged that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Jehangir Tareen was occupying a large chunk of land in Galiyat and that he had also obtained a stay order from the court to keep hold of the land.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) member Nighat Orakzai pointed out that Tareen was amongst those who had allegedly occupied 984.5 kanals of land in Galiyat.
Aurangzeb Nalotha of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that the Forest Department had refused to provide even a single inch of land to build a road in the area but was silent on this issue.
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Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) leader Inayatullah Khan demanded that a committee should be formed to determine reality. Other opposition members joined in by demanding that a Senate standing committee take up the matter.
At this, the Law Minister Sultan said that under rule 41, there can be no discussion on a personality while discussing an issue and demanded that Tareen’s name should be purged from the record.
Orakzai quipped that they did not get annoyed when the government took Zardari’s name.
The government also turned down the opposition’s demand of a probe after the majority voted against sending the matter to a Senate panel.
The opposition members also protested against government departments for sending incomplete answers to the assembly.
Responding to another question by Orakzai, Sultan said that the Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) worth Rs1.99 billion with the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) as per the defined rules and regulations to benefit from their expertise.
He further said that this has been replicated elsewhere in the country as well. Further, he clarified that approval for the project was given by the provincial cabinet, not just the CM. He hoped that the measure will create thousands of jobs for students passing out from vocational training institutes.
Inayatullah in his resolution demanded the construction of a new electricity grid station for the Brawal Tehsil in Upper Dir owing to the rising population there.
PTI’s Dr Sumera Shams presented a resolution regarding the provision of services to specially-abled people at public places and to make the Mental Health Care Authority functional and to make mental health a part of core service in primary care.
ANP’s Laiq Muhammad Khan on a point of order appreciated the services of K-P government and the army for searching missing bodies in the Tarbela Lake. He, however, urged that the Navy must be contacted to help with the search.
Leader of the Opposition Akram Khan Durrani drew the attention of the house towards how the incident occurred because there is no bridge in the area. As a result, he said that people use boats for travelling to reach other parts of the province.
Durrani urged the government to build a bridge to connect Shangla district with Hazara Division.
Sultan said that it was a terrible incident and that the government had taken measures to prevent such incidents in the future.
K-P Communications Minister Akbar Ayub Khan said that a bridge will be constructed at a cost of Rs7 billion and that they will soon contact donors in this regard. Further, a road from Dedal to Torghar will also be built to resolve the problems faced by area residents.
He further said that no government employee will be allowed to wear paraphernalia expressing their political affiliation.
However, Babak pointed out that he had seen flags of political parties on government cars during election campaigning in the tribal areas.
Law minister responded to the call-to-attention notice by MMA leader Abdul Rehman and said that the 16-year degree of Wafaq-ul-Madaris was equivalent to a masters degree and that this information should be communicated to all departments by the assembly secretariat.
PTI’s Aghaz Ikramullah Gandapur presented a call-to-attention notice that the Botani tribe living in the Loni Union Council have been clashing with locals. The K-P law minister said that it was an old issue and that a jirga has been organised in DI Khan on July 11 while another took place on Sunday. He expressed the government’s resolve to solve the issue.
After the quorum was pointed out, the session was adjourned until Thursday.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2019.
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