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Opposition member snubbed in PA over panel appointment criticism

Opposition member snubbed in PA over panel appointment criticism

PESHAWAR: The treasury members snubbed an opposition lawmaker in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday for criticising the speaker over the appointment of a matriculate as the chairperson of the house’s standing committee on health.

In the session chaired by Speaker Mushtaq Ghani, Awami National Party MPA Khushdil Khan advocate said the standing committee on health was an important panel of the house but the speaker recently appointed matriculate member Rabia Basri Insaf as the committee chairperson.

He claimed that Rabia Basri had neither qualification nor experience to head the committee.

According to him, Section 193 of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules, 1988, empowers the speaker to constitute committees without holding elections keeping in view educational qualifications and experience of the members.

Speaker says it’s his prerogative to appoint any MPA as committee head

He also submitted his resignation to the speaker as members of the Public Account Committee and standing committee on law, parliamentary affairs and human rights.

Khushdil Khan’s remarks irritated women lawmakers of the ruling party and surrounded the speaker’s dice.

They termed the opposition member’s remarks against their colleague inappropriate and demanded their withdrawal.

MPA Rabia Basri while allaying the reservations of the opposition MPA about her qualification said she would meet the expectations of the assembly and would prove her worth.

Protesting lawmakers said Rabia Basri was an experienced member of the house and she was one of the founding members of the party.

Speaker Ghani expressed displeasure over Khushdil Khan’s remarks and said it was his prerogative to appoint any member as the chairperson of the committee. He ordered the expunging of the remarks of the opposition member.

Special assistant to the chief minister on information Kamran Khan Bangash also termed Khushdil Khan’s remarks improper and asked the chair to stop members from passing insensitive remarks against MPAs.

He said the opposition MPA had breached the privilege of the house by questioning the qualification of a member.

It is worth mentioning here that the provincial cabinet has three matriculate ministers.

During question hour, minister for law and parliamentary affairs Sultan Mohammad Khan informed the house that the government had followed the rules of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Procurement Regulatory Authority in awarding contracts of development projects, including highways, to the Frontier Works Organisation.

He said the KPPRA rules, which were framed by the ANP-PPP government in 2011, had authorised the government to award contracts to a single source.

Special assistant to the chief minister Kamran Bangash said a team of technicians had arrived from China to examine BRT buses, which recently caught fire and developed technical faults.

He said reports of engineers would be shared with lawmakers.

The chief minister’s aide said the BRT fleet comprised 220 buses and 128 had been imported from China.

The house referred a calling attention notice about high mortality rate at the Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, to the relevant committee of the house.

MPA Khushdil Khan, who moved the notice, said the LRH mortality rate was very high compared to the Khyber Teaching Hospital and Hayatabad Medical Complex.

He said when Covid-19 broke out in the province, more than 300 deaths were reported in the Peshawar-based hospitals.

The lawmaker said 185 of the 300 deaths occurred in LRH.

He said the government should investigate the matter and ascertain reasons for high mortality rate in LRH.

The assembly also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Appointment of Law Officers (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The chair adjourned the session until 3pm today (Tuesday).

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2020

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