NA adopts women in distress bill, provides legal cover to PPIB


The National Assembly on Friday passed two bills to remove legal hitches to assist the government help women in distress and detention fund and to provide legal cover to the Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB).
Syed Naveed Qamar, minister for water and power, moved a bill to provide for the establishment of PPIB to provide legal cover to the board and remove conditions of the donor agencies who have time and again mentioned that PPIB should have a legal status. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) even made the “statutory status” of PPIB as one of the conditions of its multi tranche financing facility extended to the government of Pakistan.
The bill was passed with majority as the PML-N opposed the passage of the bill, saying amendments proposed by Zahid Hamid and others were turned down due to their absence from the House. The Private Power and Infrastructure Board (PPIB) was created under the 1994 power policy to act as a “one window” operation for attracting and facilitating private investment in power generation and allied infrastructure projects.
The PPIB was duly notified through a notification No FPPC-3(33)/94 dated August 2, 1994. Due to the following reasons, it was felt utmost necessity to make PPIB a statutory institution through an act of parliament. The draft statue will inspire private sector and public sector confidence in the authority, credibility, efficiency and permanence of PPIB.
The House also unanimously passed another piece of legislation, Women in Distress and Detention Fund (Amendment) Act, 2010. The amendment would help the ministry to operate the fund. Earlier, the ministry was unable to operate the fund and wanted necessary amendments in the act. National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights Chairman Riaz Fatyana laid the bill before the House. The passage of the bill would pave the way for establishment of a high-powered and autonomous national human rights commission empowered to conduct inquiry, seek reports or information directly from federal and provincial governments or any other authority or organisation on complaints of human rights violations.
The bill aims at formation of the commission in pursuance of the constitution. The commission shall, while inquiring into complaints under the act, have all the powers of a civil court trying a suit under the code of civil procedures 1908 by summoning and enforcing the attendees and witnesses and examining them on oath; discovery and production of documents. Per the bill, the chairperson of commission would be qualified to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court or high court with known interest and experience in the field of human rights.
The government would appoint a person as secretary of the commission who is qualified to be appointed as federal secretary while one member each would be nominated from each province, FATA, Gilgit Baltistan and the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), besides two members from minorities while three members of the commission should be female. The commission would be authorized to take a suo motu notice or on a petition by a victim or anyone on the victim’s behalf.