ISLAMABAD, Sept 27: The 30-day period given to the controversial Parliamentary Commission on Creation of New Provinces in Punjab to submit its recommendations to the National Assembly ended on Thursday with the commission having failed to prepare even its rules and terms of reference (ToRs).

The first formal meeting of the commission headed by Senator Farhatullah Babar of the ruling PPP was held on Aug 29 and it has since held four meetings, but without going beyond a briefing from Law Minister Farooq Naek on technical and legal points related to its functioning.

When contacted, Mr Babar said there had been differing points of view about the starting time of the 30-day period, adding that officials of the law ministry had informed the commission that the period would begin the day the rules of business were finalised.

Mr Babar said that some people argued that the 30-day period had actually begun on Aug 16 when the speaker had notified the formation of the commission and that the period was now over.

About the delay in the formation of rules, he said the commission was waiting for another notification of the speaker specifying powers of the commission. He said the speaker had issued the notification last week and now he planned to convene a meeting next week. He expressed the hope the commission would be able to finalise the rules of business soon and then move ahead.

When asked why the second notification was required and was the speaker not aware of it, he said members of the commission had become cautious after media reports that the formation of the commission might be challenged in the court. Therefore, he said, the law minister had suggested that the speaker should be asked to issue another notification in an effort to further legitimise the commission’s functioning.

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