Pertinent issues: K-P govt to probe controversial appointments

Lawmakers claim several workers sacked after PTI took charge.

Manzoor Ali June 27, 2013
90% of the sacked workers belonged to a single district, says C&W minister Yousaf Ayub. PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government on Thursday told the assembly it will investigate appointments in all Workers Welfare Board (WWB) schools and submit a report to the house.

This announcement was made by Communication and Works (C&W) Minister Yousaf Ayub after a Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) lawmaker demanded an inquiry. The JUI-F lawmaker alleged the former minister for labour had inducted people from his constituency into the department, leaving other members out. Upon this, Ayub said the government would investigate promotions given on the basis of favours and recommendations.

The issue was first raised on a point of order by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Fakhr Alam Wazir, who, interestingly, happens to be the son of former labour minister Sher Azam Wazir.

Alam said over 400 employees of the WWB had been fired without any notice after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) took over. He chided the government for rendering people jobless after promising more employment. “Azam had demanded the immediate reinstatement of these sacked employees,” he added, referring to his father’s earlier appeal.

Ayub, however, defended the PTI’s move saying around 90% of the sacked employees belonged to a single district. He maintained a record of these employees detailing their domiciles could be presented before the assembly to prove the claims.

Ayub added 250 people from Bannu, including gardeners, peons and drivers, were given employment in his constituency, Haripur. “These people were brought to my constituency as if there were no poor people in Haripur,” Ayub remarked.

The minister also questioned whether only the people of a single constituency met the criterion set for jobs in industrial zones across eight districts of the province. JUI-F leader Syed Janan backed Ayub, saying he fully agreed with the minister.

PPP lawmaker Saleem Khan, who had served in the last government as population welfare minister, said people were being fired in many departments after the new government had taken charge. Saleem added employees of 110 population welfare centres set up by the previous government were being asked to work for half their pay. “Around 70 personnel of reproductive health centres have also been fired.”

Power provision

Prolonged power cuts plaguing the province were discussed at length in the provincial assembly. The issue was taken up by PPP lawmaker Nighat Orakzai on a point of order at the start of the session.

Janan supported Nighat’s position and asked the speaker of the house to sit down with parliamentary leaders. Minister for Finance Sirajul Haq told the house the government would arrange a meeting of parliamentary leaders to discuss all issues faced by the province. On the other hand, Speaker Asad Qaiser kept pushing the treasury benches to shed light on what had been done after the assembly had passed a resolution on this subject two days ago.

K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, who was also present in the house, told lawmakers both the Water and Power Development Authority and Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) were resorting to unannounced power cuts.

“Pesco is also carrying out prolonged power cuts in rural areas of the province,” said Khattak, adding the company had earlier assured him damaged transformers would be repaired within hours. “This promise is not being kept.”

Khattak said if the province got its share of electricity, power cuts could be brought down by two to three hours. He added he would take up the issue with the water and power minister in addition to arranging a meeting with a delegation of lawmakers. Khattak also asked the speaker to call Pesco’s chief before the assembly in regards to this issue.

The day’s main agenda, which was the supplementary budget, was barely discussed by lawmakers.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2013.

s Tribune, June 28th, 2013.


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