Ordinance on blanket immunity for former PDA chiefs laid in PA

Published April 7, 2021
Governor Shah Farman had promulgated the ordinance on Feb 23, 2021. — APP/File
Governor Shah Farman had promulgated the ordinance on Feb 23, 2021. — APP/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday laid the Peshawar Development Authority (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, in the provincial assembly seeking blanket immunity for the former director generals of the provincial capital’s civic agency for past actions, conducts and proceedings.

Governor Shah Farman had promulgated the ordinance on Feb 23, 2021.

The assembly began the session under tight standard operating procedures with Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani in the chair and minister for law and parliamentary affairs Akbar Ayub tabled the ordinance in the house.

Section 52 of the law reads: “Before the commencement of the Peshawar Development Authority (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, any action taken, decision made, proceedings conducted or any other official business of the Authority run by any of its past Director Generals, shall not be called in question, merely for want of any deficiency in his qualifications or experience.”

Govt also proposes amendments regarding DG’s appointment

The ordinance also proposes amendments to various sections, which empower the chief minister to appoint the PDA director general by initial recruitment from the open market after widely advertising the position in the prescribed manner for a term not exceeding three years.

The law says the chief minister may also post a suitable government officer of BPS-19 or above by transfer from a panel of three government officers proposed by the local government, election and rural development department to act as the PDA chief.

The current chief minister and his predecessors had appointed officers, who were either nontechnical or posted on deputation as the PDA DGs through exercising executive powers. Before the promulgation of the ordinance, an officer having degree in engineering was eligible for the post of the DG.

Earlier, health minister Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra endorsed the proposal of opposition MPA Inayatullah Khan to lower the age limit for Covid-19 vaccination from 50 years to expand the number of eligible people for mass vaccination.

Responding to the point of order, the minister said the matter had already been taken up with the federal government for reducing the age limit for vaccination.

He told the house that there were constraints in vaccine procurement.

The minister said the provincial government had enough funds for the procurement of vaccines but their purchase needed coordinated efforts among provinces and the centre.

“Money is not the issue and the provincial government can give its share to the federal government anytime for vaccine procurement,” he said accusing media and politicians of scandalising procurement process.

The minister said around four million doses of vaccines would be available in the country by the end of April.

He said developing countries faced problems in procuring vaccines as the developed countries didn’t allow their export.

“The vaccine supply will improve across the world once vaccination process is completed in the US,” he said.

Terming children the potential carriers of Covid-19, the minister said around 60 million children were stepped out daily to get education, so schools had been closed.

The government also introduced the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Urban Mass Transit (Amendment) Bill, 2021, in the assembly.

Replying to a point of order of PPP member Nighat Yasmin Orakzai, culture minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said the police were being made accountable for their actions through an amendments to the Police Act, 2017.

He said a committee was already working on reforms in the police law.

The minister said the police’s Special Branch would be made answerable to the chief minister

He said the Special Branch was not bound by any law to present its report to the chief minister.

The minister said the police had traced main culprits involved in the murder of children, including a three-year-old girl of Kohat. He said the government would bring all culprits to justice very soon.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2021

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