KP govt plans to regulate charities

Updated April 17, 2019

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The KP government introduced a bill in the assembly. — APP/File
The KP government introduced a bill in the assembly. — APP/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government introduced a bill in the assembly here on Tuesday proposing wide-ranging powers for a commission to regulate the affairs of charities, including NGOs, madressahs and other organisations.

Under the proposed law, the charity commission to be notified by the government has powers to suspend or cancel the registration of a charity, while trustees will maintain the accurate accounting records, including all transactions of a charity.

Senior minister Atif Khan presented the bill in the session, which was chaired by Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan.

Bill says re-registration of charity organisations mandatory; assembly lauds bravery of forces in Hayatabad operation

The bill says, “the commission shall undertake a periodic evaluation of the charities to review the performance of the charity trustees. Section 25 (2) of the bills says that the accounting records shall mention all the transactions of the charity and shall also reflect on the financial position of the charity.”

The accounting records will contain, ‘entries pertaining to all sums of money received and expanded by the charity each day, preparation of annual statement of accounts and matters in respect of which the receipt and expenditure takes place.’

The bill says the re-registration of the already registered charity organisations is mandatory.

They include all organisations registered under the Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies (Registration and Control) Ordinance, 1961, Societies Registration Act, 1860, Companies Act, 2017, as public or private trusts for charitable purposes.

The madressahs and NGOs functioning in the province register themselves under the Society Act, and Companies and Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies Ordinance.

The bill says the proposed will consist of not less than three and not more than five commissioners including chairperson. The term of the commissioner will be two years. One of the commissioners will be appointed the chairperson of the five-member body.

Section 7 of the bill says the commission may call for any record, data or information about a charity, a charity trustee, the beneficiaries, recipients, promoters and may seek verification of the financial records from financial institutions and may utilize the services of a law enforcing agency for the purpose.

The assembly also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Youth Development Commission Bill, 2019.

Earlier, the opposition while condemning the encounter between the law-enforcement agencies and a group of terrorists in Hayatabad Town questioned the efficiency of the intelligence agencies.

The house offered fateha for martyred police official and lauded the bravery of security forces in the operation.

The PTI government didn’t give a statement on the incident and rather tried to disrupt the proceedings by identifying a lack of quorum.

When the opposition lawmakers began debate on the operation, the ruling party’s MPA, Jehandad Khan, drew the chair’s attention towards a lack of quorum.

The lawmaker’s move irritated Pakistan Peoples Party member Nighat Orakzai, who shouted: “curse on you, curse on you.”

Mr Jehandad left the house immediately.

Ms Orakzai said the MPA intentionally pointed out a lack of quorum to block debate on the important matter.

The chair, however, disregarded Mr Jehandad’s point and gave floor to the opposition to continue discussion.

The PPP member said a son of the soil sacrificed his life in the operation, while the ruling party’s MPAs attempted to stop discussion.

She said thousands of personnel had been martyred in the war against terrorism.

Inayatullah Khan of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal said police were clueless about the people, who had rented a house in a planned town like Hayatabad.

He said under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Restriction of Rented Buildings (Security) Act, 2014, landlords, lessees and property dealers were bound to submit all relevant information to the relevant police stations within seven days of tenancy.

Mr Inayatullah said the police could easily collect accurate information about the tenant, lessee and property dealer before the residential quarters were rented.

He said police should maintain the data of tenants and lessees to avoid such incidents in future.

Awami National Party MPA Khushdil Khan Advocate said the presence of terrorists in a planned town questioned the role of intelligence agencies.

He said the government should seek explanation from intelligence outfits about it.

He said a judge of the Peshawar High Court was attacked in Hayatabad, while several incidents of terrorism had happened in the town despite the presence of several intelligence agencies.

ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak said the Hayatabad operation lasted 14 hours but the chief minister and his cabinet members were absent from the scene. He said the government should share the incident’s details with lawmakers.

Mr Babak said the law-enforcement agencies patrolling the border had all resources, including budges, logistic and training, couldn’t bust terrorist networks.

“Incident in Hayatabad is a failure of the intelligence agencies,” he said, adding that sensitive agencies had engaged themselves in political maneuverings.

Mr Babak said extortionists had become active in Peshawar.

The opposition began debate on share of the province Public Sector Development Programme. The sitting was adjourned until April 23 when the opposition staged a walkout.

Published in Dawn, April 17th, 2019