PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan’s attendance in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in the first parliamentary year remained poor as he attended the house’s proceedings on only 11 of the 61 working days in all seven sessions held so far.
The chief minister’s presence in the assembly sessions as leader of the house was dismally low making it 17 per cent of the total attendance.
The MPAs attendance record obtained through the Right to Information Act shows that CM Mahmood Khan remained absent from the house proceedings for 50 days.
According to the attendance sheet, Mahmood Khan attended only 11 working days in seven sessions which also included his oath taking as MPA and vote of confidence from the house.
PA record shows Mahmood Khan rarely spoke in house unlike his predecessors
The attendance record is kept confidential and the assembly’s secretariat is not authorised to share it with the media or other organisations, which regularly monitor parliamentary proceedings.
Unlike his predecessors, CM Mahmood Khan rarely spoke in the house.
The Free and Fair Election Network, which closely monitors business in parliament and four provincial assemblies, shows on its webpage that the chief minister participated in the house’s debate only on four occasions during the whole parliamentary year.
“He (Mahmood Khan) responded to one point of order, two times participated in proceedings and on one occasion he took part in legislative business in the House,” Fafen says.
An official of the network said that the KP assembly secretariat had declined to share attendance sheet of the lawmakers.
Participation of chief minister in the proceedings included his short maiden speech in the assembly when he got vote of confidence and second his welcome remarks when MPAs from the merged tribal districts took oath.
An official in the secretariat said that 17 per cent attendance in one parliamentary year indicated interest of the chief minister in the assembly.
“CM should regularly attend sittings and participate in the House’s business to keep himself update about issues,” said the official.
This is worth mentioning that Mahmood Kahn is probably the first chief executive in the history of the province who holds over 18 portfolios including home, higher education, planning and development and elementary and secondary education.
Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani attended 49 sittings during the parliamentary year. He actively participated in the House’s business and spoke on eight points of order, two adjournment motions, four times participation in proceedings and moved two resolutions.
Information minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai admitted that attendance of the CM in the assembly was low, but argued that first parliamentary year for Mahmood Khan remained very hectic because he frequently visited all districts including merged areas of former Fata.
He said CM could not give too much time to the assembly because he was busy in planning for first 100 days of the government.
“There is no gap between chief minister and lawmakers and he (Mahmood) meets MPAs of the PTI and opposition in his office every Thursday to apprise himself about issues,” he said, adding that CM would ensure to regularly participate in the sessions in second parliamentary year started in August.
The documents reveal that attendance of the cabinet members including ministers and advisors in the assembly was not up to mark except minister for food Qalandar Khan Lodhi and minister for law and parliamentary affairs Sultan Mohammad Khan who attended 49 and 52 of the 61 working days of the parliamentary year, respectively.
Senior minister Mohammad Atif attended proceedings 29 days, minister for local government Shehram Khan 31 days, finance minister Taimur Saleem 26 days, health minister Hisham Inamullah Khan 23 days, environment minister Syed Mohammad Ishtiaq 18 days, information minister Shaukat Yousafzai 29 days, minister communication and works Akbar Ayub 34 days.
Minister mines and minerals Amjad Ali attended 38 days, special assistant science and technology Kamran Bangash 36 days, special assistant industry and commerce Abdul Karim 39 days, advisor for elementary and secondary education Zia Ullah 38 days and minister agriculture Mohibullah Khan 31 days.
Expressing dismay over the low attendance of the cabinet members, the information minister said the chief minister had ‘reprimanded’ ministers for not attending the assembly.
He said some ministers even did not sit in their offices and the CM had directed them to remain in offices at least three days a week.
Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani was unhappy with the performance of the cabinet members and brought the issue to the notice of the chief minister and prime minister.
He also issued rulings on many occasions to make the ministers punctual, but in vain.
Attendance of the parliamentary leader of Awami National Party Sardar Hussain Babak and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal MPA Inayatullah Khan was extraordinary as both attended 57 of the total 61 working days, show the documents.
Pakistan Peoples Party parliamentary leader Sher Azam Khan attended 34 sittings, while parliamentary leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sardar Mohammad Yousaf remained present in 28 working days.
The attendance of PTI MPA Khaleequr Rehman remained 60 days as he filed leave application for one day.
ANP’s Khushdil Khan attended 56 sittings and PTI’s Arbab Jehandad 51, Mohammad Zahir Shah 55, Rangez Ahmad 56 and Mohammad Zahoor 58.
Among women lawmakers, the attendance of PTI’s Zeenat Bibi remained 100 per cent as she was present in all 61 sittings followed by Rehana Ismail and Humaira Khatoon of the MMA with 60 sittings.
The attendance of Somi Falak Naz of the PTI was 95 days, while minority MPA Ravi Kumar of the PTI attended 58 sittings.
Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2019