Police shy of disclosing foreign assistance

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police acknowledged to the provincial assembly on Monday that it received foreign assistance directly during the last five years but shied away from giving full details.In reply to a question asked by a member of the ruling Awami National Party, the police department provided the provincial assembly just minor details.Saqibullah Khan Chamkani of ANP, who raised the thorny question, had asked for year-wise details of the direct foreign assistance that police department received over the past five years. However, the department provided the record for the year 2008-09 and 2009-10 only.Law Minister Arshad Abdullah, replying on behalf of the chief minister, who holds the portfolio, informed the assembly that the US Embassy provided the police department Rs14.8 million in cash in 2008-09 and security barriers worth $500,000 in 2009-10.An agreement was signed in this regard with the approval of the federal government, he said.

However, his reply could not satisfy the questioner who sought complete details of the assistance received by police. He also asked whether police had the authority to negotiate with foreign donors without the consent of the competent authority (the provincial government).Mr Chamkani insisted to refer the question to the committee concerned. The minister did not oppose the move.Earlier, several important questions lapsed because the respective MPAs who posed them were not present in the house.The assembly also adopted an adjournment motion moved by Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, allowing detailed debate on the alleged blasphemy committed by a Christian woman.Speaker Kiramatullah Khan Chagharmatti on this occasion overruled advice of Advocate General Assadullah Chamkani, who observed that the matter was sub judice and could not be discussed in the house.The JUI is taking tough stance on the blasphemy law to capitalise on the issue after quitting coalition government in the centre.The religious party MPAs Hafiz Akhtar Ali and Mufti Syed Janan moved identical motions in the house and sought detailed discussion on the blasphemy allegedly committed by Asia Bibi.

The movers said that the woman had hurt sentiments of Muslims by passing blasphemous remarks against Holy Prophet. They requested the chair to adopt the motion for discussion. Senior Minister Bashir Bilour and both factions of Pakistan Muslim League supported the movers.Speaker Chagharmatti said that the motion could not be admitted because the case was pending before the High Court. When lawmakers insisted, he sought opinion from advocate general, who observed that the case was in the court and legally it could not come under discussion in the house.Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain quickly intervened to avert controversy on the issue. He asked the speaker to keep pending the adjournment motion and the house should hold debate after court verdict.Minister for Higher Education Qazi Mohammad Asad tabled The Iqra University Ordinance, 2010, in the assembly after two MPAs withdrew their disapproval resolutions regarding the ordinance.

PPP parliamentary leader Abdul Akbar Khan and PPP-S member Israrullah Khan Gandapur had submitted their disapproval resolutions under rule 111. The lawmakers pointed out that the assembly could not make by name legislation or pass a law in the name of a particular person therefore they would oppose the ordinance.Mr Gandapur pointed out several mistakes in the ordinance promulgated for the establishment of a university in private sector that was issued on November 25, 2010. He said legislation had been made for several universities in the private sector during martial law regimes or unelected governments. He said that such legislation would open “floodgate.”Mr Asad said that reservations of the MPAs would be addressed. After assurance the lawmakers withdrew their resolutions. The proceedings were adjourned till Tuesday – Dawn