PESHAWAR, Sept 16: The government delayed the passage of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Bill, 2013, in the assembly at the eleventh hour on Monday when Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Israrullah Khan Gandapur agreed to the opposition’s suggestion that the draft should be referred to the House’s select committee for examination and recommendations, instead of passing it in haste.
Information Minister Shah Farman was about to move the resolution for the passage of the bill when Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl MPA Shah Hussain raised objection on a point of order that the bill was in direct clash with the Provincial Assembly Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules.
He said Section 42 of the rules in question suggested that queries relating to the secretariat of the assembly, including the conduct of its officers, may be asked of the speaker by means of a private communication and not otherwise.
The MPA said the government should not act in hurry and the bill should be referred to the select committee.
Deputy Speaker Imtiaz Shahid, who was presiding over the session, sought the opinion of the law minister on the matter. The minister agreed with the MPA’s point of view.
The deputy speaker proposed that the draft be referred to the committee concerned.
Other members from the opposition side supported the mover and urged the government to put off discussion on the bill.
While speaking on the point of order, opposition leader Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan said the bill was progressive and opposition benches appreciated the document.
He suggested that the government take the opposition’s viewpoint into consideration and put the draft before the committee.
Mr Sardar Mehtab said the government had already invoked the law in shape of ordinance and it would be better to send it to the select committee.
Information Minister Shah Farman agreed with the opposition’s proposal to refer the bill to the select committee.
He said the government didn’t want to delay the passage of the bill but at the same time, the opposition’s concerns could not be ignored.
The minister said the law had been introduced to ensure transparency, eliminate corruption and make the government accountable on day-to-day basis.
Earlier, the information minister ordered inquiry into the Sunday killing of a young man in police firing in Charsadda district.
Relatives brought the body to Peshawar and placed in front of the press club to register protest the killing of the man.
Fazal Elahi of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) raised the issue and declared the police’s action indiscriminate and unwarranted.
He said the PTI government would not allow the turning of the province into a police state and therefore, the officials involved in the killing should be terminated immediately.
Other members of both sides of the House supported the mover and demanded inquiry into the case. The minister said the inquiry report would be presented in the assembly and if lawmakers weren’t satisfied with the report, then the government would conduct a judicial inquiry into the killing.
On a point of order, members of JUI-F complained that PTI was using the provincial government’s machinery to manipulate the results of by-election in NA-25, Dera Ismail Khan, where Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s son is a candidate.
They said the chief minister, chief secretary and ministers were in Dera Ismail Khan to run the election campaign of the PTI candidate.
They demanded of the election commission to take notice of violation of the code of conduct for by-polls.
Minister Israrullah said being the chief executive of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Chief Minister Pervez Khattak could visit any area in the province. He said Mr Khattak didn’t visit the areas, where elections were being conducted and that the charges of the involvement of the government machinery in elections were wrong.
Later, the House offered fateha for the army officers, who were killed in the Sunday roadside blast in Upper Dir district.