PESHAWAR: The treasury and opposition members in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday asked the provincial government to restore the erstwhile Provincially Administered Tribal Areas’ Provincial Levies Force Rules, 2015, and reinstate all personnel, who were retired before reaching the age of superannuation.
The demand was made in a resolution unanimously passed by the house after threadbare discussion on a calling attention notice, which was jointly moved by the treasury and opposition.
Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani chaired the sitting.
The resolution read, “The government should withdraw changes to the Levies Force Rules, 2015, and reinstate all sepoys retired under the new rules.”
Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) member Inayatullah Khan, who presented the joint calling attention notice, said the government couldn’t change or withdraw rules unilaterally and that the 2013 rules had been invoked.
He said under the 2015 rules, a member of the Levies Force would get superannuation on attaining the age of 60 years but the limit was reduced to 42 years or 20 years service.
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Mr Inayatullah said a large number of personnel were retired at reaching the age of 28 years or completing 11 years service.
He said the basic pay scale for a sepoy had been reduced from grade 7 to grade 5.
The lawmaker said the secretary and other officials of the home and tribal affairs department also expressed surprise at the changes in the rules.
He said the changes in service rules had caused resentment among the personnel of the force, so the government should review them.
MPAs from the treasury and opposition endorsed the point.
Responding to the calling attention notice, labour minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai said a committee had been formed to remove anomalies in the new rules.
He said the committee would hold its maiden meeting on April 26 and present recommendations to the chief minister for approval.
Responding to another calling attention notice, health minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said a proposal was under consideration to use private wedding halls in Peshawar and other cities as vaccination centres.
He informed the house that the chief minister had issued orders for the direct vaccine procurement.
The minister said the Covid-19 positivity rate in Peshawar and Mardan remained 30 to 35 per cent during the last two weeks but some districts recorded slight decline in it.
He said the overall virus positivity rate in the province was 11 per cent and that the virus could be contained only through the strict SOP enforcement.
The minister said the capacity of tehsil headquarters hospitals in Mardan would be increased to cope with the growing Covid-19 cases.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MPA Jamshid Mohmand, who moved the calling attention notice, suggested a complete lockdown in Mardan to stem the spread of the infection.
He said he attended 150 funerals in his constituency of Mardan district alone.
Mr Mohmand said the death toll from Covid-19 was very high in the districts, so the government should set up special wards in the tehsil headquarters hospital of the district.
Earlier, during question hour, law minister Akbar Ayub revealed that 13.2 million newborn babies had been registered in the province during the last more than one year against the target of 18.1 million.
He said the registration system had been connected with the National Database and Registration Authority.
The assembly unanimously adopted a resolution asking the federal government to make the Dera Ismail Khan Airport operational and resume scheduled flights to benefit the people of southern region.
The resolution said the airport was closed for scheduled flights in 2015.
Meanwhile, taking notice of the speaker’s ruling about the absence of senior officers from the house and their disinterest, the chief secretary told the assembly secretariat in a letter that the attitude of the departments not only spoke of their non-seriousness to the assembly business but was also tantamount to inefficiency and misconduct on part of the departments and their officers.
He said the chief minister had also taken a serious notice of the matter and directed the departments to accord utmost importance and priority to the assembly business. “In case, any department is found to be negligent regarding the filing of replies to the assembly questions and attendance of the assembly proceedings, disciplinary proceedings against the delinquent officers shall be initiated under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Efficiency and Discipline Rules, 2011,” he said in the letter.
Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2021