Govt under fire over actions in aid ordinance

PESHAWAR: Assailing the government for promulgating the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Actions (in aid of civil power) Ordinance 2019 to the entire province, the opposition members of the provincial assembly on Tuesday said the promulgation of the law was tantamount to declaring a civil martial law.

During a session of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly, Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Ahmad Kundi criticised the government for promulgating the ordinance to the entire province.

He said despite the promulgation of the ordinance, the government had yet to circulate the law.

Opposition equates issuance of ordinance with imposition of civil martial law

The lawmaker said there was no need for the ordinance and the government was bound by the Constitution to provide copies of the law to members of the house.

He said such laws would block investments in the province.

“India is being criticised for extending Article 370 of its Constitution to the occupied Kashmir but astonishingly, the KP governor secretly signed this harsh ordinance on August 5,” he said, adding that the opposition strongly condemned the act of the government.

Awami National Party parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak said the government delegated widespread powers to the law-enforcement agencies to arrest a citizen without any charge.

He said the Constitution and law had been abrogated by the promulgation of the ordinance.

“The Aug 5 law is equal to the declaration of a civil martial law in the province,” he said, adding that the government should tell the assembly that on whose insistence, the Actions (in aid of civil power) Ordinance was promulgated.

Mr Babak claimed that media had been pressured not to report the promulgation of the law.

Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal MPA Inayatullah Khan said the assembly had been bypassed for the promulgation of a draconian law.

He said there was no such precedent in democratic period that a harsh law was passed in the presence of the assembly.

Panel of chairman Zahir Shah Toru chaired the sitting in the absence of Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani. The deputy speaker is already on a foreign trip.

The proceedings began at 11am an hour after the schedule.

The absence of ministers and advisers marred the proceedings.

Food minister Qalandar Khan Lodhi, who is also the chief whip, was present when the sitting began.

He requested the panel of chairman to defer questions related to the health department due to the absence of the relevant minister.

The opposition benches came down heavily on the cabinet members including the chief minister for their absence from the session.

Official galleries were also almost empty.

ANP MPA Khushdil Khan while speaking on a point of order said ministers were violating their oath by not attending the sitting.

He asked the panel of chairman to take action against ministers, who intentionally did not come to the house.

Responding to a question, tourism minister Mohammad Atif Khan informed lawmakers that the World Bank would provide $70 million to the government for infrastructure development, including roads in tourist attraction areas of the province.

He said the government was negotiating with the bank to get $35 million additional loan for tourism sector.

The minister said the Asian Development Bank had shown interest to give up to $100 million for constructing roads to provide access to tourist spots. He said the government would start negotiations with the ADP for loan.

The minister a total of 20 sites would be developed as tourism spots. He said Rs5 billion had been allocated for roads and infrastructure development in the ongoing annual development plan separately.

The minister said four sites including Mataklasht (Chitral), Manor Valley (Mansehra), Tandiani (Abbottabad) and Mankyal (Swat) had been identified to be developed as tourism zones in the province.

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