It was yet another busy session at the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday as the passing of numerous resolutions carried the day. On the other hand, it seems the provincial government has finally decided to bring back the legislature, its members and secretariat under the net of the K-P Right to Information Act 2015.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA Shaukat Yousafzai presented the bill before the house to revoke the ruling that was recently added through an amendment. Lawmakers also amended the Local Government Act 2015 wherein the government has been empowered to exclude any provision of the act or exempt any area from the law’s jurisdiction through a notification. The bill was moved by Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Nighat Orakzai and passed unanimously.
Opposition members, who had largely remained calm throughout the day, fired broadside at Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai over the shortage of medicines and doctors at government hospitals. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MPA Sobia Shahid raised the issue during the question answer session, with input from Orakzai. “I am not satisfied with the minister’s performance although he is competent,” Orakzai said.
“Hospitals have been given autonomy and medicines at emergency wards are available for free. Doctors and other specialists are also being hired,” Tarakai fired back. He said he is willing to accompany any MPA who wishes to take him to a hospital in the province that is lacking facilities.
The house also expressed concern over the simmering tensions between India and Pakistan on the working boundary. Lawmakers questioned the United Nations’ silence over civilian casualties caused by the skirmishes through a resolution. Orakzai was yet again in the heart of the action as she raised the issue on a point of order.
PPP Chitral MPA Syed Sardar Hussain drew attention towards his hometown where the flood devastation has yet to be reversed. The assembly concurred with Hussain’s concerns and passed a resolution urging K-P and federal governments to provide wheat to residents of the district on subsidised rates. “The government should approach UN agencies for help,” Hussain said.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl lawmakers were also in the thick of affairs. Mufti Syed Janan’s resolutions regarding employment opportunities in the oil and gas sector, Pakistan International Airlines’ state of affairs were okayed by the house. Another resolution of his urged the government to initiate early repatriation of displaced tribespeople.
The power crisis was also discussed as PTI MPA Mohammad Zahid Durrani tabled a resolution asking the Centre to declare unannounced load-shedding and overbilling as criminal offences.
PML-N MPA Mohammad Sheraz’s resolution urged the government to set a timeframe for completion of school buildings at the time of approval of construction. “A timeframe for construction of schools will help reduce delays,” Speaker Asad Qaiser noted.
Awami National Party MPA Syed Jaffar Shah called for the reconstruction of Madyan Hospital in Swat that was damaged by floodwaters. Proceedings were adjourned till Thursday.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2015.