K-P Assembly also passes amendment allowing one year in prison for litterbugs.
Monday’s K-P Assembly session saw lawmakers up the ante for lying and littering.
Now throwing a plastic bag into a canal can cost you a pretty penny and jail time. An amendment to the canal and drainage law saw the fine for throwing polythene bags into a canal or sewerage line go up from Rs50 to Rs20,000. Whether this will be implementable or not, the law goes one step further and has increased the term of imprisonment to up to one year. The amendment bill was tabled by Minister for Irrigation Mahmood Khan and unanimously passed.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led provincial government took another step towards eliminating corruption when it introduced the K-P Whistleblower Protection and Vigilance Commission Bill 2015 to the house. The bill, likely to be turned into law, gives protection to any person or agency, which reveals information on malpractices, corruption, criminal activity or actions leading to the miscarriage of justice.
It will enable the establishment of a Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Whistleblower Protection and Vigilance Commission. The body is to include three commissioners, including a chairman. The commission will not only initiate a preliminary enquiry after receiving information through a whistleblower, but also take immediate steps to stop the violation of public interest.
In addition, the commission will provide protection to the whistleblower. The commission will ensure the individual revealing information is not victimised in any way. The newly formed body may also pass orders to the relevant authority, which will be bound to take action to protect a persecuted whistleblower.
The bill provides for 30% of the fine collected from an offender to be handed to the informant. However, a whistleblower will be fined Rs100,000 if he or she files a false complaint with mala fide intentions.
The legislation includes a fine worth Rs25,000 and two years in prison for a person or agency that fails to comply with the commission’s orders. The commission may also slap a fine of Rs25,000 on any person who reveals the identity of the whistleblower.
Conflict of interest
The K-P Prevention of Conflict of Interest Bill 2015 was also introduced in Monday’s session, but some opposition members from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), including Mehmood Khan Betani and Munawar Khan, raised objections over it. They asked the legislation be referred to a review committee.
The bill deals with matters related to the conduct of a public office holder and the manner in which their action may result in a conflict of interest.
However, Speaker Asad Qaiser said the bill was in the final stages and could not be referred. “We can put it into pending bills and you can submit your amendments,” he said. Betani was asking for a period of six months to conduct joint meetings of government and opposition members to discuss the law.
“This bill deals with a very important subject and should be properly reviewed and discussed,” he said. Betani added the government was in a hurry to introduce legislation which often leads to repeated amendments to various bills. Munawar was of the view the legislation would make it difficult for MPAs to ever lead a normal life.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2015.