PML-N challenges KP govt’s bill legalising helicopter use in Peshawar High Court
PESHAWAR ( Web News )
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Saturday challenged a bill approved by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government regarding the use of government-owned helicopter in the Peshawar High Court (PHC).
PML-N parliamentary leader in the KP Assembly Sardar Muhammad Yousaf filed the petition and made the provincial government and chief secretary respondents. He argued that the amendment to the laws was made illegally. No one, including Imran Khan, would be allowed to use public money, he said, adding that the bill was approved as the PTI was in majority in the provincial assembly.
He argued that the provincial government had provided legal shelter to the use of provincial government-owned helicopter since 2008 through the bill. Sardar Muhammad Yousaf said it had also allowed renting out the helicopter for commercial use.
Last month, KP Governor Haji Ghulam Ali signed the bill despite having reservations on it. He also wrote a dissenting note, saying he was not satisfied with the bill. Haji Ghulam Ali is of the view that the bill was approved by the PTI-led provincial government just to protect the past use of the helicopters by Imran Khan.
“Legislation to facilitate one person is unconstitutional,” he said, adding that anyone could challenge it in court. The governor said he had first returned the bill with objection but it was sent to him again as a finance bill. “It is not a finance bill and I have informed the KP Assembly speaker about it,” he said. The governor said he was bound by the Constitution to approve the bill.
In December last, the provincial assembly passed the KP Ministers (Salaries, Allowance and Privileges) (Second Amendment) Bill, 2022, amid resistance by the opposition parties which claimed that it would provide ‘blanket immunity’ to those who illegally used the provincial government’s helicopters. They raised objection to the Section 7B(7) of the amended bill, saying it would protect the illegal users of state-owned helicopters.
Section 7B(7) of the amended bill reads, “All official journeys, any excursions, so carried out and undertaken on my aircraft or helicopter of government by the chief minister, any minister, advisor or special assistant to chief minister, public servant or government servant, or any of his support staff, aides, any other individual, on and from 1st November, 2008 till the commencement of the KP Ministers (Salaries, Allowance and Privileges) Act, 2022, shall deem to be validly carried out and undertaken under this Act and shall not be called in question for want of any deficiency of procedure or approval, as the case may be.”