KP govt tries to bulldoze legislation after CM said they won’t


Opposition foils attempt by pointing out lack of quorum

Joint opposition in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) on Friday foiled the attempt of the provincial government to pass the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Foundation Bill, 2016 by pointing out the lack of quorum.

The opposition pointed out the lack of quorum after the treasury benches tried to push through legislation without discussing the amendments proposed by the opposition.

KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said earlier in the week that the provincial government will not try to bulldoze legislation through the house without input from the opposition.

The house was due to adopt the legislation for the establishment of a health foundation, which according to official quarters, is designed to promote and enable the development of innovative healthcare delivery models to achieve policy objectives of the government of KP in order to improve coverage through public private partnership.

Clause-wise debate on the bill was held with Deputy Speaker Dr Meher Taj Roghani in the chair. The house adopted some clauses when amendments were proposed by Meraj Hamayun. But, when an amendment was proposed by Sobia Khan of PML-N regarding the implementation of the policies relating to public private partnership and related initiatives under the public private partnership Act, 2014, Provincial Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai declined to accept the proposed amendment and requested the opposition to withdraw their amendments to pave way for the passage of the bill from the house.

In response to the request of the minister, the opposition made a counter-request to refer the proposed legislation to the select committee of the house. However, the treasury benches were determined to ensure the passage of the bill.

Meanwhile, however, Sahibzada Sanaullah of PPP pointed out the lack of quorum in the house to the chair. But, the deputy speaker continued the proceedings of the house, which attracted the attention of more opposition legislators to the lack of quorum.

The chorus of the opposition legislators started demanding the counting of the members present in the house. The deputy speaker finally acquiesced and directed the staff to start counting.

The treasury benches, particularly, Special Assistant to CM on Information Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani was determined to continue the proceedings and pass the bill. However, the deputy speakers said that legal experts had told her that quorum in the house was not complete and, therefore, the proceedings could not be continued. She said that only 29 members are present in the house.

After the lack of quorum had been established, Deputy Speaker Dr Meher Taj Roghani read out the message of the KP governor regarding the prorogation of the proceedings of the house for an indefinite period.

Earlier, the house witnessed commotion when senior PTI leader and Provincial Minister Shah Farman was responding to the criticism of the opposition leaders including Sardar Hussain Babak of Awami National Party, Shah Hussain and Mufti Fazal Ghafoor of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl.

The opposition legislators criticised the provincial government for the distribution of development funds on the basis of political affiliation.