PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday passed the proposed Civil Servants (Amendment) Act, 2021, to reverse a three years increase in the age of superannuation for the provincial government’s employees.
The provincial government had increased the retirement age to 63 years in the 2019-20 budget claiming the move will save Rs20 billion every year. However, it was declared unconstitutional by the Peshawar High Court.
The government took the matter to the Supreme Court, which set aside the high court’s judgment and remanded the petition back to it in Jan for fresh decision.
However, the provincial government had a change of heart and decided in March to reverse the increase in the upper retirement age limit.
Education minister says 27,000 posts of teachers to be filled
During the session chaired by Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, law minister Akbar Ayub Khan said the government reversed its earlier decision after two major employers, including police and education departments, had opposed the increase in retirement age.
He also said that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Youth Wing also opposed the move.
“The police department was of the view that increase in retirement age limit did not suit the force,” he said, adding that the education department also expressed reservations about it.
The amended bill says: “Any civil servant, who has completed sixty (60) years of age but is not retired from service, by virtue of or in pursuance of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil Servants (Amendment) Act, 2019, shall be deemed to have been retired from service from the date when such Civil Servant has completed sixty (60) years of age.”
With the passage of the amended bill, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil Servants (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, also stood repealed.
The assembly also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Bill, 2021, meant for the introduction of an efficacious and speedy mechanism to issue the letters of administration and succession certificates.
Earlier, the house was informed during question hour that a total of 3,603 posts of the teachers of different cadres were vacant in merged tribal districts.
An official reply to a query read that the vacancies would be filled very soon.
Minister for elementary and secondary education Shahram Khan Tarakai said the recruitment of teachers was ‘under process’ and that the vacant posts would be filled through testing agencies and provincial public service commission.
He said a total of 27,000 vacancies would be filled in the education department to overcome the shortage of teachers in schools.
The department also replied that a total of 1,763 students of private schools, including 1,564 girls, had got themselves enrolled in government schools in Bannu district after the government declared education emergency in the province.
Interestingly, it furnished lists of the students with the names of their fathers and admission dates missing.
Responding to another question, adviser to the chief minister on food Khaleeq Rehman Khattak said the government departments faced hurdles to the acquisition of land for the construction of offices and other infrastructures in the merged tribal districts.
He said the administrations of Bajaur and Kurram districts recently imposed Section 4 for the acquisition land.
The adviser said the department had planned to build wheat storage facilities in the two districts for which Rs469.5 million had already been allocated in the current budget.
An adjournment motion by Pakistan Peoples Party member Ahmad Kundi regarding reduction of seats in medical colleges for the students of the erstwhile Fata and Balochistan was admitted for general discussion.
Mr Kundi said a total of 265 seats were allocated for those students in medical colleges throughout the country but they had been reduced to 29.
He said the federal government had approved a five years plan under the banner of the ‘provision of higher education opportunities for the students of former Fata and Balochistan’ but the medical colleges’ admission quota had been reduced to 29 students to the disappointment of the residents.
The chair later adjourned the session until 10am on Friday.
Published in Dawn, April 21st, 2021