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The image shows the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly in session. – File Photo

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday passed a law binding the owners of press, newspapers, news agencies and books registration to submit a declaration of paying salaries to employees as per Wage Board Award.

The law called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Press, Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Act, 2013 was passed unanimously. Section six, sub-clause 4 of the new Act states: “Each publisher or owner of the newspaper, while applying for a declaration of a periodical, will declare on affidavit that he will pay salaries to his employees as per Wage Board Award”.

An amendment introduced by MPA Israrullah Gandapur was also adopted, under which the power of awarding declaration was shifted from deputy commissioners to regional information officers of the information department.

Justifying the amendment, Mr Gandapur said that a deputy commissioner could withhold the application for declaration for 90 days and termed it against the freedom of press. He said that it would be better to empower the regional information officers for awarding declaration because they belonged to the same profession.

Following the new law, the Press, Newspaper, News Agencies and Book Registration Ordinance, 2002, which is applicable across the country, has now been repealed to the extent of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The new law also entails penalties for different offences, including unauthorised dissemination of newspapers and newssheets, running printing presses without declaration, false statement in declaration, etc.

The house also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Industrial Statistics Bill, 2013, that was tabled by Provincial Minister for Labour Sher Azam Wazir. Woman MPA Dr Faiza Rashid of Pakistan People’s Party complained to the speaker that the bill was introduced by her a year ago, but the minister had then not agreed with her in the house due to which it couldn’t be passed.

However, the same bill was passed by the assembly with no changes, she said.

She observed that the women MPAs were not being given status equal to the male members of the house. She said that on several occasions the private member bills had been turned down by the treasury benches.

The house also passed several other laws, including The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Industrial and Commercial Employment (Standing Orders) Bill, 2013; The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minimum Wages Bill, 2013; The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2013; and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Foodstuffs (Control) (Amendment) Bill, 2013.

In his message regarding the International Women’s Day, Speaker Kiramatullah Chagharmatti said: “While we happily and proudly adore the vibrant part the women play in the development and every bit of our lives in Pakistan, we must not forget and should look around at the women who are suffering from all sorts of deprivation.

“Let us make a special promise to women in conflict situations, where all sorts of atrocities are committed on them in different ways,” he said while reading out a written statement. He said that the assembly hoped to do everything possible to give the rights to mothers, daughters, wives, sisters and all the deserving.

Shagufta Malik of ANP and Dr Faiza Rashid of PPP highlighted problems being faced by womenfolk in the war on terror. They said that women of Pakhtun region were peace loving and stood by their men in time of difficulties while living in different camps for internally displaced persons.