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Pro-surrogacy plan has no takers in PA

December 15, 2012

PESHAWAR, Dec 14: Treasury and opposition benches in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday opposed the medical transplantation regulatory authority bill’s clauses meant to legalise surrogacy, stem cell therapy, cloning and donation of human organs after death.

Legislators from both the sides opposed the bill when Speaker Kiramatullah Chagharmatti handed over floor to law minister Barrister Arshad Abdullah to bring the bill for consideration of the House on behalf of provincial health minister Zahir Ali Shah.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Medical Transplantation Regulatory Authority Bill, 2012 was promulgated as an ordinance in Sept 2012 to provide for regulation, removal, storage and transplantation of human organs, tissues and cells for therapeutic purposes and to establish transplantation regulatory authority in the province for this purpose.

Lawmakers of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and female MPA of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, Noor Sahar, opposed the bill when the House was about to take it into consideration.

MPA Saqibullah Khan Chamkani of Awami National Party proposed amendments to 18 main clauses of the bill.

Mr Chamkani suggested drastic amendments to the bill. He proposed deletion of clause 4 and clause 5 related with surrogacy and stem cell therapy and cloning respectively.

MMA lawmaker Mufti Kifayatullah also objected to clauses 4, 5 and 6 of the ordinance and demanded the referring of the bill to the relevant committee.

Ms Sahar opposed the bill and suggested to seek opinion of the Council of Islamic Ideology before its tabling in the House.

“Some clauses need to be removed from the bill because it can push the society to infidelity,” she said, adding that the proposed law would not be acceptable to the people if it was passed in the current shape.

Speaker Chagharmatti referred the bill to the standing committee on health at the request of senior minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour.

He said the ordinance would be passed from the House with consensus.

MMA legislator Mufti Syed Janan told Dawn that members of his alliance had already taken up the matter with the speaker in his chamber when it was introduced on last Monday. He said MMA members would not allow the government to pass the bill in the current shape.

Earlier, during question-answer session, the government faced embarrassment when the law department in a written reply said provincial Governor Masood Kausar was still on the panel of legal advisers of the provincial government each drawing Rs50,000 monthly fee and TA/DA entitled to Grade-20 officer.According to the reply, Governor Kausar is on the panel of the legal advisers for the excise and taxation department until 2012.

Law minister Arshad Abdullah clarified that the sitting governor was included on the legal adviser panel, but after assuming the office, he could not take cases.

Speaker Chagharmatti ordered the removal of the name of the governor from the list and said the relevant departments should not repeat such mistakes.

He referred the verbal call attention notice of MPA Aurangzeb Khan to the standing committee on the higher education regarding alleged anomalies and irregularities in admissions in Government College, Peshawar.

The lawmaker claimed that the college’s management was not following merit and as a result, deserving candidates had been denied admission to intermediate classes.

Replying to a call attention notice moved by MPA Jafar Shah regarding pollution of the River Swat, senior minister Bashir Bilour said the cabinet had banned the construction work within the limit of 200 feet on both sides of the banks of rivers and other sources of water.

He added that landowners would have to take permission from the district authorities before starting construction on their land within 1500 feet on both sides of the banks of rivers. He said these measures would help save rivers from pollution.