PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday passed the establishment of commercial courts for resolution of commercial disputes bill, 2022 to provide effective legal regime for expeditious resolution and disposal of commercial disputes.

The Establishment of Commercial Courts for Resolution of Commercial Disputes Bill, 2022, said contract enforcement was the key area of commerce but the existing system of contract enforcement and dispute resolution was a barrier to the ease of doing business due to long period of enforcement and resolution.

“In the existing mechanism in case of commercial disputes the business parties have to approach civil courts for redressal, however due to heavy burden of works on the civil courts the litigation process take years to resolve disputes between the parties and businesses,” read the bill moved by labour minister Shaukat Ali Yousafzai.

It added that the weak contract enforcement mechanism besides adversely affecting the commerce and trading system in the province also discouraged prospective both local and foreign investors and adversely affected the business environment.

Opposition asks govt not to curtail powers of LGs

The provincial government intends to provide effective legal regime for expeditious resolution and disposal of commercial disputes. Commercial courts or appellate tribunal under the exceptional circumstances may adjourn hearing of a case for not more than seven days.

The appellate tribunal will comprise chairman and two members, one legal member and one technical member to be appointed in consultation with the chief justice of the Peshawar High Court and will be appointed for a term of three years.

Anyone aggrieved from the judgement or decree or an order of the commercial court may prefer an appeal in appellate tribunal within a period of 30 days from the days of announcement of such judgement, decree or order.

On a point of order, the opposition benches criticised the government for amending the local government law and termed it unconstitutional.

On a point of order, MMA lawmaker Mian Nisar Gul drew the attention of Idrees Khan Khattak from the panel of chairmen towards the protest staged outside the assembly building by members of tehsil councils from across the province.

He said tehsil councillors demanded development schemes and powers.

The opposition member asked the government not to curtail the powers of local governments.

Responding to the point of order, labour minister Shaukat Yousafzai said the provincial government had allocated Rs40 billion for district governments in the current budget.

He said the main purpose of amendment to the law was to maintain a check and balance system.

The minister said the councillors should approach the relevant quarters for the approval of development schemes.

Meanwhile, the house unanimously passed four resolutions, including one advocating the right of the residents of Shivah tehsil in Bannu district to the gas discovered there.

A resolution moved by PTI MPA Pakhtoon Yar said the relevant department was laying a gas pipeline to transport gas to other parts of the country aggrieving the locals, who blocked work on the pipeline.

It also said the right of locals to that gas should be recognised otherwise the federal government and the petroleum and gas authorities would be responsible for any untoward incident.

Mian Nisar Gul Kakakhel of the opposition MMA tabled a resolution demanding regularisation of contractual and daily-wage employees in all universities of the province.

He said most of those employees had been working in their respective educational institutions for 10-12 years and held PhD degrees.

In a resolution, Nighat Orakzai of the opposition PPP demanded that the provincial government recruit its own police in the transport department.

A resolution tabled by PTI member Babar Salim Swati said Quranic verses and hadith should be displayed in government and semi-government offices to protect Islam and the status of Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2022

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