KP speaker proposes biometric attendance for MPAs

Published November 9, 2021
A file photo of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani. — DawnNewsTV
A file photo of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani. — DawnNewsTV

PESHAWAR: Angered by the continuous absence of members from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s session, Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani on Monday proposed the installation of a biometric attendance system to ‘ensure their presence’.

He gave the proposal on a point of order moved by opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani in the house in which he expressed reservations about low attendance of lawmakers, including ministers.

“Continuous absence of the members from the proceedings is tantamount to disrespecting this august house,” he said.

The speaker said the situation would improve after the installation of biometric attendance system.

Says move to address absenteeism, chides minister over poor reply to question

He also chided law minister Fazal Shakoor Khan over failure to give ‘satisfactory’ answer to a supplementary question of PPP member Sahibzada Sanaullah regarding the deduction of income tax from the payments of contractors in Malakand division.

The chair referred the question to the house’s standing committee on irrigation. “Please sit down. You are not well-prepared,” he told the minister and warned that the irrigation secretary would be summoned to the house next time if his department failed to give a satisfactory reply.

The assembly passed a resolution unanimously demanding of the government to make amendment to the Muslim family laws for making it mandatory in the nikahnama provision of an undertaking about the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

Babar Saleem Swati of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf moved the resolution.

During question hour, the assembly was informed that 625,000 people had applied for the Senior Citizen Cards in the province.

Law minister Fazal Shakoor told members that Rs10 million had been allocated for designing those cards.

He said the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) would design those cards and that a ‘special sign’ would be affixed to them for the identification of senior citizens.

The Senior Citizen Act was passed in 2014, but the government has yet to frame rules.

Under the act, senior citizens will be allotted special counters in major hospitals, 50 per cent concession in public transport and free entry in museums, libraries etc.

MPA Naeema Kishwar criticised the government over a delay in the issuance of Senior Citizen Cards.

Earlier, five identical adjournment motions regarding a spike in the prices of petrol, sugar, flour and other essential commodities, and deteriorating law and order situation in the province.

Opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani drew the chair’s attention towards ‘unprecedented’ price hike in the country.

He said middle class was in trouble due to record inflation.

Mr Durrani said the assembly had been in session for the last three months and the opposition couldn’t requisition the session for discussion on crucial issues like lawlessness and price hike.

He said the situation was alarming and going out of control, while poverty was contributing to the higher incidence of crimes in the province.

The opposition leader said robbers snatched guns and cash from police constables in Dera Ismail Khan lately.

He requested the chair to allow members to hold a detailed discussion on those issues.

Speaker Ghani asked him to table an adjournment motion for the purpose.

He, later, admitted five identical adjournment motions related to price hike and lawlessness to be discussed in the assembly today (Tuesday).

The assembly passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Land Use and Building Control Bill, 2021, to protect agricultural land and green areas, and prevent illegal construction activities on agricultural lands.

The government will set up 18-member Provincial Land Use and Building Control Council to be headed by the chief minister that will approve policies and guidelines, pertaining to the functioning of the land use and building authority. The government will also establish land use planning and management committees at the district level.

Section 22(1) of the act says where a district land use plan or master plan has been notified, no person, including a government agency, shall undertake land development, road remodeling or building construction except in accordance with a development permission granted under this act.

The government also introduced the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincially Administered Tribal Areas Levies Force (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2021

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