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HomeNationalBureaucrats hail clipping of speaker’s judicial powers

Bureaucrats hail clipping of speaker’s judicial powers

Punjab Assembly on Friday abolished the speaker’s special judicial powers to rein in the bureaucracy by amending the Punjab Privileges Amendment Bill 2021.

The treasury and opposition in 2021 had jointly passed the bill, empowering the speaker of the Punjab Assembly to have certain powers to punish a bureaucrat who breaches the privilege of the house.

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The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has provided relief to the bureaucracy through this legislation, said Asif Ali, a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf activist. He said both the PML-N and bureaucracy were hand in glove these days.

On the other hand, the bureaucracy has welcomed the new law, saying that the previous one was meant to affect the independence of the administration. A senior officer who has also served in the regulation wing of the Services and General Administration Department as the secretary said that all branches of the executive should work independently within the constitutional framework. He maintained that the Parvez Elahi-led assembly wanted the bureaucrats to be subservient to politicians who usually want illegal favours.

A senior officer said that the officers respect the parliament and could not even think of breaching its privilege, but what was happening was contrary to the facts. He also accused the parliamentarians of misusing certain privileges.He said that some members of the assemblies, who pressurise the officers to approve some contracts, cannot be approved. He said that the misuse of privileges has led to the collapse of the governance model, policy-making and its implementation.

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He said that abusers usually go unpunished, while those who go by the book could be punished under the previous law now repealed. He said that when he was posted as TT Singh DC, an MPA came to him with a list of his political workers to accommodate and recruit in different departments. He said that when he refused, the parliamentarian moved a motion against him.

An additional secretary was of the view that all person-specific legislations usually lead to misuse of state resources. He said that this dangerous trend could jeopardise the system and merit. He said that certain privileges are granted to parliamentarians the world over; however, their misuse is considered a breach and is liable for punishment. He said that the legislation passed by Speaker Parvez Elahi-led assembly was instigated by his secretary Mohammad Khan Bhatti.

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