KP Assembly dissolves Ehtesab Commission

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–Graft inquiries, investigations transferred to KP Anti-Corruption Establishment

–PTI govt in KP passes bill to extend laws to PATA despite opposition’s abstention

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly on Friday repealed the Ehtesab Commission Act, 2014, after which the commission was dissolved and all graft inquiries and investigations were transferred to the Anti-Corruption Establishment.

According to details, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Continuation of Laws in Erstwhile Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) Bill, 2018, and Ehtesab Commission (Repeal) Bill, 2018, were moved by Provincial Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Sultan Muhammad Khan with KP Assembly Speaker Mushtaq Ghani in the chair.

The provincial assembly dissolved the commission by passing the Ehtesab Commission (Repeal) Act, 2018. The bill transfers all the complaints received by the KP Ehtesab Commission on which inquiries have been initiated to the Anti-Corruption Establishment.

Similarly, all the pending inquiries and investigations initiated by the directorate general of the KP Ehtesab Commission were also transferred to the Anti-Corruption Establishment, which will further inquire and investigate them. The pending references before the Ehtesab Courts were transferred to the Anti-Corruption Court for further examination.

The services of the contractual employees of the KP Ehtesab Commission were terminated while the regular employees have been given the option of taking a golden handshake or carrying on their services as surplus employees of the KP government.

The opposition refused to become part of the legislation and did not move their amendments in the bill in protest as the government was forcing for passage the bill from the house.

Members of opposition from Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) resisted against the bill asking the government to provide the detail of the laws and regulations which were given cover through the bill.

Inayatullah Khan of JI said the opposition should be taken on board and all the details of the bill should be discussed.

Parliamentary Leader of ANP Sardar Hussain Babak said that the government had vowed to discuss the bill with the opposition but it ignored the promise. Babak alleged that the government had constituted Ehtesab Commission for political victimisation.

KP Law Minister Sultan Muhammad requested the speaker to continue with the legislation and put the bill before the house for voting. MMA’s Zafar Azam walked out from the house in protest against the bill. The opposition announced that they would abstain from becoming a part of the legislation and the government passed the bill with the majority of vote.

In 2014, the KP government had constituted Ehtesab Commission under an act which was aimed at weeding out corruption from the government departments. This remained functional until 2015. Later, Ehtesab Commission director general Gen (r) Hamid Khan resigned from his office for unknown reasons. A KP minister was also arrested during the drive against corruption in government departments.

LAWS EXTENDED TO PATA:

The PTI government in KP also passed a bill for the continuation of laws in erstwhile Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) despite the abstention of the opposition lawmakers.

The bill stated that all the laws, rules and regulations in the erstwhile PATA lost their legal grounds when the Article 247 was omitted through 25th constitutional amendment. These laws had no legal force anymore and the government had issued an ordinance in May 2018, to give them legal cover following the 25th constitutional amendment to run administrative affairs in the erstwhile PATA areas, the bill said.

The opposition refused to become a part of the legislation and did not move their amendments in the bill in protest as the government was forcing for passage the bill from the house.

Members of opposition from Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Awami National Party (ANP) resisted against the bill while asking the government to provide them details of the laws and regulations which were given cover through the bill.

Inayatullah Khan of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) said the opposition should be taken on board and all detail of the bill should be discussed.

Parliamentary Leader of Awami National Party (ANP) Sardar Hussain Babak recalled that the government had vowed to discuss the bill with the opposition but it later ignored the promise.

KP Law Minister Sultan Muhammad requested the speaker to continue with the legislation and put the bill before the house for voting at which the opposition announced that they would abstain from becoming a part of the legislation. The KP government then passed the bill with the majority of votes.