KP Lawmakers shrug aside abduction of forest dept employees

Published November 27, 2021
This file photo shows the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly during a session. — Photo via KP Assembly website
This file photo shows the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly during a session. — Photo via KP Assembly website

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday ‘cold-shouldered the plight’ of four forest department employees, including a woman, who have been kidnapped for more than two weeks.

The issue was raised by MPA Mir Kalam Khan on a point of order during a sitting chaired by Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani.

The lawmaker said the forest department employees had been kidnapped in the area between North Waziristan and Bannu districts around two weeks ago.

He said the kidnappers were pressuring the families of captives for the payment of Rs50 million ransom.

Mir Kalam demanded of the government to take ‘concrete’ steps for the early, safe recovery of abductees.

During sitting, MMA member advocates three years fieldwork for bureaucrats

The MPA said on one hand, sitting MNA Ali Wazir from South Waziristan had been in the jail for one year but on the other, police officer Rao Anwar, who was involved in extrajudicial killings in Karachi, roamed free.

Instead of a firm response from the government, Speaker Ghani directed the MPA to sit down with labour and human rights minister Shaukat Yousafzai and discuss the matter.

None of the members from treasury and opposition benches spoke about it.

During question hour, Inayatullah Khan of the opposition Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal said the government should evolve a formula to allow all officers of the Pakistan Administrative Service and Provincial Management Service to spend around three years in the field.

He said there were many officers, who spent entire careers without a chance of working in the field.

“The government should set criteria to provide fieldwork opportunity to all officers of the federal and provincial bureaucracy,” he said.

Minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai agreed with the MPA’s contention but insisted that the relevant rules allowed the chief minister to post an officer anywhere in the province. He said postings were made ‘on merit’.

Responding to another question, the minister said the daycare centres were being set up in three major teaching hospitals, including Khyber Teaching Hospital, Hayatabad Medical Complex and Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar.

He said separate washrooms for women employees had been included in the KTH renovation project, while a daycare centre would be built under Phase II of the project.

The government introduced the Upper Swat Development Authority Bill, 2021, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Deserving Artists Welfare Endowment Fund Bill, 2021.

The endowment bill says that the fund shall be established with an initial capital of Rs500 million and may, from time to time, be credited with the government grants, grants from philanthropists, nongovernmental organisations and any other organisation, working for the welfare of artists; and income received from any other source.

The fund shall be utilised for immediate financial assistance to the deserving artists for covering health expenses of immediate nature etc. The government will constitute a committee headed by minister for culture that would receive applications from the deserving artists or their family members for financial assistance or other relief in the prescribed manner.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Control of Narcotics Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was deferred during the ‘passage stage’, while the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Absorption of Certain Employees Bill, 2021, was referred to the select committee.

A four-member committee will review the bill. The house also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Appointment of Law Officers (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Earlier, the assembly condemned attacks on woman journalist Ambreen Fatima in Lahore. The chair adjourned the sitting until Dec 20 afterwards.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2021

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