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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government introduced a bill in the provincial assembly on Wednesday to give legal protection to all laws and regulations, including Action (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011, in the erstwhile Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata), which were merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa six months ago.

Law and parliamentary affairs minister Sultan Mohammad Khan introduced the bill, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Continuation of Laws in the Erstwhile Provincially Administered Tribal Areas Act, 2018, in the house.

Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani chaired the sitting.

Proposes law for setting up body to oversee MTI boards

The bill proposes the continuation of all laws in the previous Pata comprising seven districts, including Swat, Malakand, Buner, Upper Dir, Lower Dir, Shangla and Chitral, which were merged with KP after the omission of Article 247 from the Constitution.

It is likely to be put to debate in the house during the ongoing session.

Like Pata, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) was also merged with the province after 25th Amendment to the Constitution last May.

Section 3 (1) of the bill says: “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, for the time being in force, all the laws, regulations, rules, notifications and by-laws, including Actions (in Aid of Civil Power) Regulation, 2011, or any other legal instrument, applicable in the erstwhile Pata and having had the force of law under or in pursuance of Article 247 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, now omitted vide the Constitution (Twenty-Fifth Amendment) Act, 2018 shall continue to remain in force until altered, repealed or amended by the competent authority.”

Clause 2 of the same section declares that notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, for the time being in force, Secretary Home and Tribal Affairs Department may, by notification in the official Gazette, confer policing powers upon member of the Federal and Provincial levies force in the province of the KP, as and when required.

The Medical Teaching Institutions Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2018, was also introduced suggesting the establishment of a policy board to oversee the functioning of the MTIs’ board of governors.

The proposed body will consist of 57 members to be appointed by the government on the recommendation of the search and nomination council to be headed by the health minister.

The bill says the employees, who don’t opt for the private practice within the hospital premises of the MTI-covered hospitals, will not be entitled to any increase and adjustment, incentives, bonuses or other ancillary benefits or administrative post, except in extraordinary need as decided by the BoG.

A board of arbitration will be established in every MTI to take up court cases filed by the employees against the respective administration to resolve their grievances out of court. The council will have 10 members.

Unlike the MTIRA, 2015, under which the tenure of dean is three years, amendment to the law will increase the term to five years.

The draft bill says, “Before the commencement of this Act, all administrative and teaching staff recruited by the management Council in the prescribed manner under the repealed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical and Health Institution and regulation of Health Care Services Ordinance, 2002, regardless of status of terms and conditions of services, shall be considered employees of the concerned Medical Teaching Institution on such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by regulations.”

The law minister also introduced a bill to amend the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Child Protection and Welfare Act, 2010.

The government has proposed a total of 10 amendments to the law recommending the establishment of child protection units at the district level, which will work under the commission.

The social welfare officer of the district concerned will head the unit and that he or she will be assisted by the child protection officers to be appointed by the commission in line with Section 11 of the Act.

CONTROVERSY OVER JICA PROJECT: The opposition lawmakers came down heavily on the government for ignoring their constituencies in the multibillion rupees farm-to-market road project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).

They said Jica had planned to provide around Rs20 billion for the construction of 604 kilometers farm-to-market roads in the province.

Awami National Party MPA Laiq Mohammad Khan raised the issue on a point of order.

He said Torghar, his home district, had not been included in the project and that he would challenge it in the court of law.

Opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani and other lawmakers Sardar Hussain Babak, Sardar Yousaf, Khushdil Khan advocate, Bahadur Khan and Sahibzada Sanaullah supported movers and accused the government of ignoring the constituencies of opposition MPAs in the project.

Mr Babak said an opposition delegation would meet the Jica officials in Islamabad to apprise them of reservations about the project and would stage protests.

He said the communication and works department didn’t include the constituencies of the opposition MPAs in the project’s feasibility study.

The opposition member said Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had assured the parliamentary leaders of equal funds distribution among lawmakers for development schemes.

He asked the chair to issue a ruling on the subject.

Responding to the opposition’s point of order, minister Qalandar Khan Lodhi said the Jica project could be reviewed.

Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2018