PESHAWAR: The select committee on Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Conflict of Interest Bill 2014 has submitted its report in the K-P Assembly with a few changes in the bill.
“The earlier version of the bill violated the fundamental and constitutional rights of the individual as everyone has the right to own a private business unless it causes a conflict of interest,” Qaumi Watan Party K-P chief Sikandar Hayat Sherpao told The Express Tribune.
The committee chaired by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak presented its report in the assembly with amendments. However, the bill has passed as members of the opposition asked for 10 days to scrutinise it.
The report has put to rest the ambiguities which had rendered the bill controversial. It includes amendments proposed by Sherpao regarding businesses owned by ministers.
An earlier draft of the bill stated no public office holder will be allowed to engage in private professions. However, the amendments proposed by the select committee indicate public office holders should not engage in a profession that results in a conflict of interest.
The changes also included suggestion on the selection of a chairman for the commission for prevention of conflict of interest and ethics.
In the first draft, the commission chairman was defined as someone recommended by the government who is eligible to become either a Supreme Court or Peshawar High Court judge. However, the report suggests the chairman will be recommended by a selection committee and ought to be eligible to become a judge of the high court. The committee will also recommend the two members of the commission to the government for appointment.
The report also includes recommendations on the selection committee. It states the members for the committee will be appointed by the government and will have two members each from the treasury and opposition benches of the K-P Assembly.
The amended bill has excluded Sub-clause 2 of Clause 8 that barred members of the K-P Assembly from conducting debates on a question that would place them in a conflict of interest. The amendments also suggest an appeal may be filed within 30 days with a tribunal that has to be notified by the government.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2015.