Hunza News

Talking politics: G-B lawmakers deride speaker’s ‘powerlessness’

Share This Post

GILGIT: As the pre-budget session began in the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, lawmakers lamented their lack of power, especially in matters pertaining to budgetary preparations, and lashed out at the speaker over his ‘lack of authority’.

HunzaNews, June 5th, 2014.

The debate in the assembly’s 36th session was triggered by Ayub Shah of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) who claimed lawmakers were unable to completely utilise last year’s funds due to bureaucratic hurdles. This resulted in the lapse of a large amount of money meant for the region’s development.

As he finished, Mirza Hussain of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) lashed out at Chief Minister (CM) Mehdi Shah for not transferring the services department secretary, Saad Khan, who allegedly made derogatory comments about G-B lawmakers a few weeks ago.

“The CM had promised in the house to post out the services secretary within two days but the official is still working at the post after a passage of one month,” said Hussain, during the question hour chaired by Speaker Wazir Baig.

This is sheer contempt of this august house and the CM should let lawmakers know if he is so powerless, Hussain said further. He was joined in the discussion by another PML-Q legislator, Amina Ansari.

“This house wants to know if the real power rests with the CM or the chief secretary,” Ansari said.

The onslaught forced the speaker to surrender. “What can I say over this. The rulings that I, as speaker, make in the assembly also go unheard. Even resolutions passed unanimously over the years have not been implemented,” he lamented.

To the speaker’s acknowledgment of lack of powers, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmaker and opposition leader in the assembly retorted, “If your rulings are not given due weightage, why don’t you resign?”

PPP’s Wazir Hasan went a step ahead, suggesting the speaker dissolve the assembly, saying “This will be an act of public service.”

The speaker said the power to dissolve the assembly does not rest with him, adding it can be done by the CM in consultation with the governor. However, if lawmakers want to resign they should discuss it with the CM in a cabinet meeting, he said.

Later, the speaker asked the finance minister to arrange a briefing for lawmakers over funds spent last year and likely development schemes to be implemented in the next fiscal year.

Earlier this month, two regional newspapers carried a story accusing Services, General Administration, Information and Cabinet Department Secretary Saad Khan of terming G-B politicians “incompetent” and saying they do not deserve to be empowered. According to the story published on May 2, Saad made the comments in a meeting with the nine-member senate functional committee investigating human rights violations in G-B.

On behalf of Saad, the G-B Information department rebutted the report a day after it was published, terming it malicious and baseless.

Express Tribune

More To Explore