Hoti more conspicuous by his absence than presence
PESHAWAR, Sept 19: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti attended only three of the 41 sittings of the provincial assembly from Sept 2011 to May 2012, said a report issued here on Wednesday.
The report issued by Free and Fair Election Network, a group of 42 civil society organisations monitoring performances of the countrywide assemblies, said attendance of members was crucial, especially that of the speaker, deputy speaker and leader of the House to perform their legislative and representative roles.
It, however, added that Mr Hoti remained present in only three of the 41 sessions held between Sept 2011 and May 2012.
Opposition leader Akram Durrani attended 18 sittings, while parliamentary leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Pir Sabir Shah was present in five sessions.
The report was launched here Wednesday which was attended by representatives of various NGOs and MPAs.
According to the report, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly didn’t make attendance record public.
However, during the reporting period, on average, 31 members were present at the beginning and 37 at the adjournment of each sitting. In general, more members were present at the end of the sittings in each session than at the beginning.
It was observed that none of the sittings stated on time and on the stipulated average each sitting began more than 41 minutes late. It said low attendance of members and lack of quorum persisted.
According to it, women legislators, who constituted 18 per cent of the 124-member House, were very vocal and tabled various agenda items on women’s rights.
Additionally, reflecting trends at the federal level, a private member’s bill on the agenda was passed — a welcome change from the mostly treasury-driven legislative business in the past. The report termed it positive change that private members were being introduced and also becoming laws.
The bill was about enforcement of women ownership rights to safeguard females’ rights to own property. It was also noted that in light of ethno-linguistic tension in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa after the passage of 18th amendment in Hazara region, the provincial assembly passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Regional Languages authority Bill, 2011 to preserve, promote and teach indigenous languages of the province.
The report said two government bills proposing establishment of universities in Haripur and Charsadda were withdrawn indicating lack of the government’s seriousness towards promotion of education sector.
According to it, the assembly strangely remained silent on Nato supply route in November 2011 as a result of attack on Salala Check post. However, an adjournment motion condemning the US congressional hearing against the alleged human rights abuses among other issues in Balochistan was taken up by the House.
About conduct of the members, the report said violation of certain standards of behaviour were noted in the house and that included walking around, making noise, making running commentaries, using offensive expressions or abusive language, using cellphones, eating and drinking during proceedings and delivering written speeches without the speaker’s permission.