Saturday April 20, 2024

FIA’s wings clipped in Punjab

By Asif Mehmood
March 27, 2021

LAHORE: Exercising the powers devolved to the provinces under the 18th Amendment, the Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar has promulgated two ordinances — the Punjab Travel Agencies (Amendment) Ordinance 2011 and the Punjab Museum Board Ordinance.

After the promulgation of the ordinance, the FIA would no more be authorised to act against the travel agencies and tour operators for keeping passports of groups intending to go on foreign tours.

The ordinance has come into force with immediate effect under which the Punjab government would form Travel Agencies Regulatory Committee. The committee’s chairperson and members would appointed by the provincial government.

The word ‘Punjab’ has been substituted for ‘Pakistan’ in Punjab Travel Agencies (Amendment) Ordinance and the posts of the controller and deputy controller have been created for dealing with travel agencies, said a spokesperson for the Tourism and Archaeology Department.

He said that travel agencies with up to five years expired licences could get them renewed and the controller would be authorised to seal defaulter travel agencies lacking licence or fee. The spokesperson stated that the controller or inspector could inspect travel agencies in office timing, and agencies will be bound to provide business guarantee through a scheduled bank.

A fine of up to Rs100,000 and up to Rs200,000 will be imposed on the first and second violation of the law and the controller office is also authorised to seal the travel agency. Our correspondent adds: Through the second ordinance, Punjab Museum Board will be established. The board will be authorized to formulate policies about the archaeology sector while the Punjab CM will be empowered to appoint the chairman of the museum board.