Bill seeks restriction on commercial development of agricultural land in KP

Published June 4, 2021
For the first time in 1,000 days of the current Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, eight private member bills were tabled in the house on Thursday. — Photo courtesy Abdul Majeed Goraya/File
For the first time in 1,000 days of the current Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, eight private member bills were tabled in the house on Thursday. — Photo courtesy Abdul Majeed Goraya/File

PESHAWAR: For the first time in 1,000 days of the current Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, eight private member bills, including one seeking restrictions on commercial development of agricultural land, were tabled in the house on Thursday.

During the session chaired by Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, member of the opposition Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal Inayatullah Khan introduced the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Protection of Agricultural Lands Bill, 2021, for the regulated use of agricultural lands in the province.

According to the bill, a person will require administrative approval for the commercial development of agricultural land.

“No person may commercially develop a piece of agricultural land without the approval of the administration and the administration may, subject to the prescribed conditions, grant a No Objection Certificate for the development of agricultural land,” says sub-sections 1 and 2 of the bill’s Section 3.

The bill said commercial land development meant the dividing of land into two or more plots, the amalgamation of plots, the carrying out of any building operation including creation, construction, redevelopment, and alteration or repair the making of any material change in the use or appearance of any structure on land.

Assembly witnesses uproar over proposed law about acid violence

The house witnessed uproar when a private member’s bill of Pakistan Peoples Party member Nighat Yasmin Orakzai regarding acid attacks, which has been pending for the last two and half years, was blocked by the treasury benches on the grounds that a government bill on the issue was being vetted by the law department.

The bill is meant for criminalising acid and burn-related violence, providing fair and speedy trial of the culprits, and dealing with related matters.

“The government shall constitute an Acid and Burn Crime Monitoring Board for a period of five years within 30 days of the commencement of the act to implement its objectives. The board shall consists of 12 members including secretary home and tribal affairs department, secretary finance, two parliamentarians and one medical doctor in burn field,” the bill said.

Social welfare minister Hisham Inamullah Khan opposed the private member’s bill and said a government bill on the same subject was being vetted by the law department.

He said financial implications were involved in the bill and therefore, the government would not support a parallel bill.

The minister asked the mover to withdraw her bill and said her opinion would be incorporated in the government’s bill.

He said the social welfare department had been working on the bill for the last two years and that the bill was very important as the prevention, rehabilitation, protection and punishment regarding the acid attacks were involved.

MPA Nighat Orakzai protested claiming she had submitted the bill more than two years ago.

She alleged that some treasury members of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus had copied her draft bill and sent to the social welfare department.

Member of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Asia Khattak rejected the opposition lawmaker’s allegations and said the subcommittee had been working on the matter for a long time.

Speaker Mushtaq Ghani put the bill to vote and it was rejected by a majority of members.

The PPP member staged a walkout from the assembly to register her protest.

Special assistant to the chief minister on information Kamran Bangash introduced the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Home-Based Workers (Welfare and Protection) Bill, 2021, meant for the protection and welfare of domestic workers and regulating their working conditions and terms of employment in the province.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Employees of Health Department (Regularisation of Services) Bill, 2021,the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Regulation of Lady Health Workers Program and Employees (Regularisation and Standardisation) (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Preemption (Amendment) Bill, 2021, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Livestock Production Bill, 2021, and the Employees of Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation (Regularisation of Services) Bill, 2021, were also tabled in the house.

Earlier, the opposition lawmakers from the merged tribal districts called off their protest after getting an assurance from the government that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan would meet them on Monday over issues related to their constituencies.

They sat on the floor in front of the speaker’s dais to protest what they called unfair and unwarranted policies of the federal and provincial governments towards the people of former Fata. The MPAs insisted that the region didn’t get its due share in the development budget.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2021

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