Saturday July 20, 2024

KP Assembly allows CM, others to use copter

The ruling PTI in KP assembly passed a piece of legislation by a majority that would allow the CM, provincial ministers, advisors or public servants to use the official helicopter or private aircraft

By Khalid Kheshgi
December 13, 2022
KP CM Mahmood Khan. The News/File
KP CM Mahmood Khan. The News/File

PESHAWAR: The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday passed a piece of legislation by a majority that would allow the chief minister, provincial ministers, advisors or public servants to use the official helicopter or private aircraft.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Privileges) Second Amendment Bill 2022 was tabled in the House last week, paving the way for the chief minister of the province to use himself or allow a provincial minister, an advisor, a special assistant or any public servant to travel in a helicopter or aircraft at provincial government’s expenses to attend an official function.

Though the opposition members, including Khushdil Khan of Awami National Party, Ahmad Kundi of the Pakistan People’s Party and Inayatullah of Jamaat-e-Islami, had suggested amendments to the proposed bill, the treasury benches rejected them and passed it by a majority.

Provincial Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaukat Yusufzai presented the bill on behalf of the chief minister and was passed amid the opposition’s protest and shouting. The bill would provide legal cover to the use of an official helicopter or any other private aircraft used by the chief minister of the province, provincial minister or other public servants of the provincial government since November 1, 2008, till the approval of the bill.

It said the use of a helicopter or an aircraft could not be questioned for want of any deficiency or procedure of approval as the case may be. The opposition parties accused the ruling PTI government of providing legal cover to the helicopter use by former prime minister and PTI chief Imran Khan for political purposes during the incumbent and previous PTI governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Earlier, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly passed a unanimous resolution, asking the federal government to exempt the Malakand division and other newly merged tribal districts of the province from all kinds of taxes till 2033.

The parliamentary party leader of Jamaat-e-Islami in his joint resolution stated that under the 25th amendment to the Constitution, Malakand division and other former tribal areas were exempted from taxes until June 30, 2023, and after that period the people of these areas would pay taxes to the federal and provincial governments.

The resolution said the people of Malakand division and ex-Fata had suffered due to militancy, natural and man-made disasters therefore they should not be brought under the tax net until 2033.

The House also passed a resolution, asking the provincial government to facilitate and introduce the translation of the Holy Quran into national and regional languages so that the common people could understand and follow its teachings.

The resolution was presented by ANP parliamentary party leader Sardar Hussain Babak who said the provincial government must provide the translated version of the Holy Quran to all mosques in the province.

Independent MPA from North Waziristan Mir Kalam Wazir also tabled a resolution, demanding the Pakistan Medical Commission that the special quota for tribal students in medical and dental colleges should be restored while keeping in view the low literacy ratio in the former tribal areas.

PTI minority MPA Wilson Wazir through a resolution asked the federal government that reserved seats for minorities in the National Assembly and all provincial assemblies must be enhanced keeping in view the strength of general and women seats in the parliament. The session was adjourned until 2 pm on Tuesday.