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Full Version: 'Punjab Katchi Abadis Bill 2009' tabled in violation of rules
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* Member says recommendations not sought, bill tabled without committee vote
* MPA Amir Sultan says treasury ‘tricked’ Opp in process to table bill
* Committee members give conflicting accounts

By Rana Kashif

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly Committee on Local Bodies tabled the ‘Punjab Katchi Abadis (Amendment) Bill 2009’ in the House without seeking recommendations by its members and a vote on the bill in violation of rules and regulations, according to sources.

The majority of committee members are unaware of the location of the katchi abadis covered by the bill – which was tabled in the House on Friday. Committee members’ versions of the meeting that was supposed to discuss the bill also differ.

MPA Amir Sultan Cheema – an important member of the committee on local bodies – claimed that the treasury “tricked” the opposition in the process to table the bill. He said that on the day the bill was tabled in the House, the committee also selected its chairman, and members were later supposed to hold a meeting to make recommendations and vote on bills related to a kite-flying ban and katchi abadis. However, he said that before a debate on the matter could begin, members were asked by a senior parliamentarian to immediately attend House proceedings, as the quorum was incomplete. He said the members left the meeting for the proceedings, and the bills were tabled in the House immediately after. He said the only thing he knew about the entire process was that Mehr Ishtiaq tabled the bills in the House.

Amir said the opposition was “deceived” and the bills were tabled in violation of rules, since it was “a very important matter that required detailed discussion.

Another member of the committee, Nazim Hussain Shah, said he did not even know that a committee meeting had been held. He said although he attended the House proceedings on Friday, he was not informed about the committees meeting. He said a committee meeting could be convened if the quorum was complete, but “even then ... I should have been informed”.

Committee member Sanaullah Khan Masti Khel said he could not provide details of the bills or give the location of katchi abadis covered by them, as he could not attend the meeting because he was unwellr.

Another member, Hafeez Khan, said he had no information on the katchi abadis and the bills, as he did not attend the meeting either.

MPA Sakina Shahin also said that she had no information on the katchi abadis in the province. She said the meeting on Friday was actually held to select a chairman. She said immediately after the chairman was selected, Sardar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa called the members to the House to complete the quorum.

MPAs Mehr Ishtiaq, Fauuzia Behran and Malik Iqbal Ahmed Langriyal – all of whom reportedly attended the meeting – could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the committee, Tahir Sindhu, said the bills contained every bit of information, but he would be able to provide the details “after some time”.

It was learnt that any bill handed over to a committee could not be tabled in the House without a discussion or a vote. After the voting process, the committee’s report is prepared before the bill is tabled in the House.
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