Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Unable To Transact Agenda
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly could not hold a sitting after a large number of lawmakers, suspended by the Election Commission of Pakistan for not submitting their statement of assets and liabilities, did not attend the session that left the quorum incomplete.
Apart from the thirty-eight (38) lawmakers who had been suspended by the Election Commission, a number of government members, ministers, in particular, were conspicuous in their absence. This resulted in a lower-than-usual turn out of lawmakers. Deputy Speaker of the Assembly expressed her displeasure over the absence of lawmakers whose memberships were still intact. Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker, who was not allowed to speak on a point of order, pointed out the incomplete quorum in the House in frustration. After the staff counted the number of lawmakers present and found that the quorum was incomplete, the Speaker adjourned the Assembly session.
Earlier, the question hour had to be deferred due to the absence of Ministers and lawmakers who were due to ask questions.
The Election Commission had suspended the membership of 38 lawmakers — belonging to both the Treasury and the Opposition benches — for failing to submit their statements of assets and liabilities with the apex poll body as per law. They were subsequently barred from attending the Assembly.
The Speaker stated that of those suspended, two lawmakers had submitted their statements, while the remaining 36 were yet to submit their asset details. She urged the lawmakers to submit their asset statements so that they could resume sitting. She also expressed annoyance over the absence of the Administrative Secretaries during the sitting and announced that she would write to the Chief Secretary and complain about the lack of responsibility displayed by the Secretaries.
After the session ended prematurely, the agenda of the day could not be completed despite the fact that it included the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mineral Sector Governance Bill 2017, which was supposed to be passed by the government. A Bill to amend the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Public Service Commission Ordinance 1978, to increase the term of Commission members from three years to four, was also on the agenda.
The House also referred a privilege motion by lawmaker Uzma Khan to the Assembly’s Privilege Committee. The motion had been moved against the director of Area Study Centre at the University of Peshawar who had yet to relinquish the seat despite having completed his term in 2013. She said that the Peshawar High Court and the Higher Education Commission had also ordered to remove Area Study Centre Director and the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Higher Education had also issued directions to the University’s Vice-Chancellor to act according to the High Court’s orders, but action had yet to be taken on the matter.