PESHAWAR: The provincial assembly here on Thursday passed The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Charities Act, 2019 to regulate affairs of charities including NGOs, seminaries and other bodies after rejecting opposition’s plea to send the bill to Council of Islamic Ideology for opinion.

Two amendments moved by Awami National Party MPAs Shagufta Malik and Salahuddin in Clause 3, Sub-clause (3) and Clause 8, Sub-clause 1 were incorporated in the original bill. Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani chaired the sitting.

Mutahidda Majlis-i-Amal MPA Inayatullah Khan opposed the bill, stating that it would give wide ranging powers to the state institutions to interfere in distribution and collection of charities. He asked the government to send the bill to CII for opinion.

Opposition’s plea to send bill to CII rejected

Leader of Opposition Akram Khan Durrani endorsed Mr Khan and said that the council was constituted to give its opinion on issues related to Sharia. He said that the bill would create more complications if it was passed in the present shape. He said that seminaries collected donations and Zakat to teach religious education to children.

Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Sultan Mohammad Khan said that before passage of 18th Amendment, charities was federal subject and the law was framed in 1953 to regulate collection of charities and donations. He said that the bill was in passage stage and under the existing rules and business of the assembly it could not be referred to CII or any other body.

Under the Act, 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.

The law says that the commission shall undertake a periodic evaluation of the charities to review the performance of the charity trustees. Section 25 (2) of the Act 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.’

According to the Act, 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 seminaries and NGOs functioning in the province shall register themselves under the Society Act, and Companies and Voluntary Social Welfare Agencies Ordinance.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Judicial Academy (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Land Acquisition (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2019 were introduced in the assembly.

The house admitted question to hold detail discussion on Bus Rapid Transit Peshawar Project.

Lawmakers hailed the judgment of International Court of Justice regarding Indian spy and termed it a major victory for Pakistan.

They said that the judgment would promote soft image of Pakistan and demanded international community to declare India as a terrorism-sponsoring country.

The assembly also passed several resolutions and the sitting was adjourned till 10am Friday.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2019