PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtun­khwa Ehtesab Commission’s director general has warned the chief minister that the proposed changes in its statute power would result in the closure of 70 per cent of the pending inquiries and investigations.

In a letter addressed to the chief minister, the DG has raised objections to a proposal to bar the commission from acting on any anonymous complaint, arguing that complainants normally preferred to remain anonymous as had been the case with almost 70 per cent of the complaints received by the commission. He added that though the complainants were anonymous or used fake names, most of the complaints had enough substance in them for use as basic information to initiate action under the law.

The said amendment would eliminate the suo motu powers of the Ehtesab Commission (EC), the letter warns, as a result of which almost 70 per cent of the pending inquiries and investigations would be closed. “Consequently, the scope and power of the commission will be limited in the future too.”

While the provincial cabinet has given the green light to the KPEC (Amendment) Ordinance and its promulgation is expected in the next few days, the commission’s DG has been pleading that these amendments would affect the accountability process.

Proposed amendments will curtail powers of Ehtesab Commission

On Feb 4, the DG, retired Lt Gen Mohammad Hamid Khan, had in another letter addressed to the chief minister, requested him to withdraw the proposed amendments as they would undermine the principle of an independent and transparent accountability process.

In response, the CM’s Secretariat, through the principal secretary, had said that no specific section or clause of the Act had been referred, which would dilute or jeopardise the EC’s authority and functioning.

The DG’s letter on Tuesday was in response to the earlier correspondence.

“Before the proposed amendments, the Ehtesab Commission is the authority to determine the eligibility criteria as well as method of appointments and settled terms and conditions of officers and employees. By introducing amendments through Section 9 of the proposed bill, the provincial government is taking over these powers,” the letter states.

It also objects that the provincial government intends to scrutinise the appointments already made by the commission, thereby directly indulging in its affairs, which would destroy its autonomy.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2016


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