PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar has apparently assumed the role of de facto chief executive of the province as he often summons administrative secretaries and heads of the directorates to his chamber for briefings on development schemes.
Well-placed sources in the assembly secretariat said that Speaker Asad Qaisar invited secretary of works and services, secretary of housing and secretary of industries departments to his chamber on July 29 to brief him about the mega projects in Swabi district.
According to the schedule, the three administrative secretaries would brief Mr Qaisar on the proposed construction of Swat expressway, establishment of an industrial estate near Colonel Sher Khan Interchange and a mega city project near Colonel Sher Khan Interchange close to Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway.
These sources said that Mr Qaisar wanted to connect the under construction Colonel Sher Khan Interchange with Chakdara Bridge through Swat expressway.
“Regrettably, Mr Speaker is more interested in attending meetings and briefings about development schemes in his hometown rather than focusing on issues related to his office,” said senior official.
He said that by book it was not speaker’s job to call secretaries and heads of different directorates for briefings. He said that there was no provision in the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules that he (speaker) should preside over meetings related to development schemes in his constituency or any other area.
“Speaker is only custodian of the assembly and he can call any officer or administrative secretary on matters related to the House,” the official said, adding officers of all departments and directorates were not bound to brief him (speaker) on irrelevant subjects.
His predecessor Kiramatullah Khan Chagharmatti had introduced this culture as he always summoned secretaries and other officials to his chamber for briefings. The incumbent speaker, who is also provincial chief of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, has been focusing on his constituency.
Being head of the party he has been taking part in live TV talk shows to defend and explain PTI’s position on various issues. The opposition parties have already demanded him to quit the party office. Mr Qaisar has also engaged his chamber staff to look after development activities in his hometown. For instance, the assembly speaker issued a press release here on Monday stating that secretary to speaker Saeed Khan was inspecting medical complex in Swabi.
His brother Aqibullah Khan has been allocated ticket to contest by-election from NA-13, which was vacated by Mr Qaisar after retaining the provincial assembly seat. He is facing Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Awami National Party joint candidate Maulana Attaul Haq Dervaish. Sources said that Mr Qaisar had engaged himself in the election campaign to secure the National Assembly seat.
Officials said that formation of standing committee of the House including the powerful public accounts committee had not been finalised owing to ‘hectic’ engagements of Mr Qaisar and differences among MPAs of PTI over occupying chairmanship of standing committees.
The opposition in the provincial assembly has authorised Mr Qaisar to nominate chairpersons and members of the committees. Normally, officials said, committees were constituted soon after assembly came into existence. The sitting members took oath on May 29. This scribe tried to contact Mr Qaisar but he was not available for comment.