MMA fails to table any legislation in NWFP
By Zakir Hassnain
PESHAWAR: Despite being in majority, the Mutahidda Majlis-e-Amal-led government has not tabled any legislation since it came to power in the Frontier province that saw the inaugural session of the NWFP Assembly on November 25 last year when the members took oath to the office.
Besides a couple of brief sessions that witnessed the election of the chief minister and that of the Senate, only one proper session was convened during the past four months and that was even requisitioned by the opposition.
The ruling party has so far failed to call in for even a single session to debate or legislate laws that are in the interests of the electorate who gave it a clear mandate. The assembly unanimously passed a controversial resolution - tabled by Pir Muhammad Khan, an alliance MPA from Shangla - that sought to get rid of taxes on public property, private arms licenses and cars.
The resolution was later dropped because it was widely believed that the taxes violated Islamic laws. “The provincial government could have passed it [the tax resolution] as a law through the assembly after it was unanimously adopted, but it hasn’t up to now,” Anwar Kamal Marwat, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Nawaz) parliamentary leader in the assembly, told Daily Times.
Mr Marwat said the property tax resolution was binding on the provincial government but “the government has been reluctant to do so”. He argued that the government had not held, on its own, a single assembly session, nor presented “a single piece of paper” for drafting the legislation in the session that was eventually requisitioned by the opposition.
“How can you legislate when you don’t summon the assembly session?” Mr Marwat asked. “The opposition wouldn’t have any objection if the government benches wanted to pass any law in that session,” he added.
He went on to say that the alliance had not adopted any legal ways in the assembly and set up committees, especially those on law reforms. “You have to make laws in the assembly and not in Masjid Mohabbat Khan,” Mr Marwat remarked.
Mr Marwat’s remarks are also backed by Bashir Ahmed Bilour, the Awami National Party leader, who has taken a dim view of the government’s handling of the assembly affairs. “Government performance on legislation is zero,” Mr Bilour commented. “The government has had enough time to pass any laws it wants to.”
Mr Bilour also criticized the manner in which the government was going about recommending Islamic laws. “Now, they are talking about Islamic laws. We want a complete Islamic system according to Quran and Sunnah; we don’t want Islamic laws recommended in bits and pieces by the alliance.”