PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has failed to form commissions to prevent conflict of interest and encourage whistleblowers even two year after the passage of the relevant laws by the provincial assembly.

The last PTI government had got the KP Conflict of Interest Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act passed by the provincial assembly on Aug 5 and Sept 19, 2016, respectively.

The relevant officials told Dawn that the commissions, whose formation was promised in both legislations for the implementations of laws concerned, hadn’t taken place yet.

Commissions promised in laws passed two years ago also awaited

They said the establishment department had notified both laws on June 1, 2017, as they had a ‘commencing clause’ suggesting the laws would become effective only after the government notified the date of their enforcement in the official gazette unlike other laws, which took effect soon after their passage by the assembly.

The government took around a year to notify both laws.

Section 3 of the law promises the establishment of the KP Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commission having a chairman and two members, while Section 4 is about the creation of a scrutiny committee to select chairman and members and says the committee will have one member each from treasury and opposition benches of the provincial assembly to be named by the speaker and opposition leader, respectively.

Sources said the process of the commission formation had begun towards the end of the last Pervez Khattak government.

They said the establishment department sent a summary on the scrutiny committee’s formation to the cabinet for approval but before the cabinet did the needful, the provincial assembly completed its tenure and bringing the entire exercise to a halt.

The sources said the process would be repeated soon with the provincial assembly being asked to nominate two members for the scrutiny committee.

The Whistleblower Protection Act 2016 also provides for the establishment of a commission to implement the provisions of the law.

The KP Whistleblower Protection and Vigilance Commission will comprise three commissioners, including a chairman, to be appointed by the government for three years.

A source however said the commission’s formation was stuck in the slow lane.

He said the rules had been drafted and were forwarded for the chief minister’s approval during the last days of the Pervez Khattak government but the summary on them was stuck at the Chief Minister’s House.

The source said the summary’s approval by the newly-elected PTI government was expected in few days leading to the commission’s formation.

Likewise, the drafting of the Conflict of Interest Act and its approval by the assembly took around two years.

The proposed law was first introduced in the assembly on Nov 14, 2014, but the house referred it to a select committee.

In Aug 2015, the bill drafted by the committee was tabled in the house, which sent it back for review.

The draft was again placed on the house’s agenda in Jan 2016 but failed to get its approval due to a lack of quorum. In the next sitting, the assembly sent the bill to the select committee for review for the third time.

However, when the provincial assembly finally passed the bill on Aug 5, 2016, the treasury and opposition members had got together to reduce the number of its clauses from 65 to 25.

Spokesman for the provincial government Shaukat Yousafzai was not available for comments.

Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2018

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