PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is set to enact two laws this month for regulating the Levies and Khasadar forces in the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) as the two ordinances promulgated earlier will lapse on Sept 10 after the completion of their constitutional 90 days life.

The provincial government had promulgated two ordinances in Mar 2019 and re-promulgated them in June with minor changes.

The officials confirmed that the constitutional duration of the ordinances would expire on Sept 10.

Two ordinances issued for the purpose will lapse on 10th

While the Constitution prohibits the re-promulgation of an ordinance, the KP government had made minor changes to the earlier two ordinances to avoid the Constitution’s violation.

The provincial cabinet in its meeting on Aug 23 had given approval to the two proposed laws, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Levies Force Act, 2019 and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Khasadar Force Act, 2019, and the relevant bills will now be tabled in the assembly for enactment.

Earlier, Governor Shah Farman had signed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Levies Force Ordinance, 2019, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Khasadar Force Ordinance, 2019, on June 13 after the completion of 90 days constitutional life of the earlier ordinances.

The KP government had announced the induction of 16,053 personnel of Khassadar Force and 11,918 of Levies Force in the police force last April.

Following the promulgation of the ordinances, the provincial government had notified in April that the merger process of Khasadars and Levies personnel would be completed in six months, while all powers and functions of the police had been delegated to the two forces.

The governor had signed two ordinances in March this year to regulate and maintain the Federal Levies Force and Khassadar Force in seven tribal districts and six sub-divisions after the region’s merger with KP in May 2018.

The Levies Force used to function under the federal ministry of State and Frontier Region before the Fata-KP merger.

An official dealing with the law-enforcement agencies in the defunct Fata said the KP government overstepped its powers by re-promulgating ordinances as under the Constitution, the provincial assembly had been empowered to extend an ordinance for 90 more days through a resolution after completing its first three months period.

However, provincial law minister Barrister Sultan Mohammad Khan insists that the ordinances were not re-promulgated and instead, the existing ordinances were new and different from the previous ones.

He told Dawn that the relevant rules for the two forces were almost final and would be notified in near future.

The minister said the government would let the current two ordinances lapse on the completion of their constitutional life and would table the relevant bills when the assembly met on Sept 16.

A senior official in the KP Assembly said the copies of those ordinances had yet to reach the assembly secretariat, which was a constitutional requirement under Article 128.

He said under Rule 111(10) of the Assembly Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules, the printed copies of an ordinance shall be made available to the lawmakers by the secretary after its promulgation by the governor under Article 128 of the Constitution.

The official said despite enjoying two-thirds majority in KP Assembly, the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf did not table the ordinances in the assembly.

“Any member may give three clear days notice of his intention to move a resolution disapproving the ordinance and if such a notice is received, the speaker shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in these rules, fix time for the discussion of such resolution within three days of commencement of the session, immediately following the promulgation of the ordinance if three days’ notice is to complete at the time of commencement of the session or within six days of the receipt of the notice if notice is given after commencement of the session as the case may be,” he said.

The official said the assembly secretariat had not been provided gazette copies of the ordinances and that if the resolution was carried, the secretary would publish the decision of the assembly in the gazette.

Article 128’s sub-clause 2 (a) of the Constitution says an ordinance shall be laid before the Provincial Assembly and shall stand repealed at the expiration of ninety days from its promulgation or, if before the expiration of that period a resolution disapproving it is passed by the Assembly, upon the passing of that resolution.

A proviso to the said article provides that the provincial assembly may be a resolution extended the ordinance for further period of ninety days and it shall stand repealed at the expiration of the extended period, or if before the expiration of that period a resolution disapproving it is passed by the assembly, upon passing of that resolution.

Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2019