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PESHAWAR, Aug 8: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Kiramatullah Khan’s announcement to hand over a block of MPA Hostel in the capital city to the provincial judicial academy has provoked controversy.

Official sources told Dawn on Wednesday that the speaker had no powers or legal authority to transfer the possession of the assembly’s property to any other government and semi-government department or allow outsiders to use its hostel.

They said the assembly secretariat faced shortage of rooms in the existing hostel to accommodate MPAs and had no alternate arrangements for providing stay to lawmakers.

“There are 99 rooms in the hostel but the number of its members is 124,” said an official, adding that the assembly secretariat staff could not dislodge MPAs living in Block-D rooms.

Speaker Chagharmatti made the said announcement around a month ago and issued verbal directives to the assembly’s secretariat to give possession of Block-D of MPA Hostel to the management of the provincial judicial academy.

Officials related to judiciary will be trained in the academy and they will include policemen, especially investigators, prosecutors, probationers, and reclamation and prison staff besides lawyers.

These trainees will stay in MPA Hostel because the provincial government has yet to build a hostel for the academy.

Courses in the academy are likely to begin in September.

The provincial government had allotted land measuring 150 kanals in Regi Model Town for the construction of the hostel. Until the construction of the said hostel, the academy’s management had approached speaker to provide a portion of MPA Hostel, which is adjacent to the academy.

Sources said the secretariat had asked the speaker to issue an order in writing regarding the handover of the hostel to the judicial academy insisting his verbal orders wouldn’t be acceptable.

“Speaker Chagharmatti is asking the secretariat to evacuate lawmakers from the hostel rooms to accommodate trainee officers, but the secretariat staff has turned the orders down,” said an official.

The official while quoting the speaker said the Peshawar High Court chief justice, who is the chairman of the judicial academy, might take suo a motu notice of the matter if the commitment was not fulfilled.

He said the speaker should think about the lawmakers’ accommodation before making any announcement.

Earlier, Mr Chagharmatti had given permission to the provincial government to allot 200-kanal land for the construction of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital in Hayatabad Township.

The government had reserved the site in Hayatabad for the construction of the assembly secretariat and colony for employees.

Lawmakers had criticised that decision of the speaker.

When contacted, Mr Chagharmatti was not available for comments.

Deputy speaker Khushdil Khan told Dawn that the MPA Hostel was the provincial government’s property and the speaker had no power or authority to transfer the assembly’s property to any other department.

“Under the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules, 1988 neither speaker nor the deputy speaker have the authority to transfer the assembly’s property to other body or allow an outsider to get accommodation in its hostel,” he said.

Mr Khushdil, who is the chairman of the housing and library committee of the assembly, said as the head of the said panel, he was supposed to provide accommodation to lawmakers and resolve their grievances.

He said the speaker didn’t consult him or other members of the committee before announcing the handover of the MPA Hostel’s block to the academy.