LAHORE-Through a piece of legislation, the Punjab Government on Monday conceded defeat in Punjab Assembly on a law point earlier raised by former Punjab Governor Sardar Latif Ahmad Khan Khosa regarding appointment of PPSC chairman.

On last day of the 43rd session, the Punjab Assembly approved amendment in section 4 of Punjab Public Service Commission Ordinance, 1978, authorising the government to appoint a sitting member of the commission as chairman for residual period of his term. 

Through this legislation, the government has in fact provided legal cover to its earlier decision of appointing a sitting member of PPSC as its chairman without any legal provision.

The Punjab Government had in September 2012 appointed Safdar Javid Syed as PPSC chairman.  The former Governor Latif Khosa had declined to approve his appointment pleading that under the rules the chairman PPSC could only be appointed for a full term of three years, whereas the government wanted him to remain in office till March next year.

Since the chief minister has a final say on the appointment of the commission’s chairman under the constitution, the former notified the appointment without latter’s approval. At first, Khosa refused to administer oath to chief minister’s nominee, citing legal reasons, but later agreed to perform this duty after intervention by Punjab chief secretary.

In the statement of objects and reasons the government has taken the stance that the proposed amendments aim at providing clarity for appointment of a sitting member of the PPSC as Chairman. Through another amendment, the government has removed ambiguity for appointment of ‘women and persons from private Sector’ as members of the commission.

The Assembly also approved amendments in Local Government ordinance to provide legal cover to levying of taxes by the local governments. The new legislation would also provide protection to the tax already recovered by the local governments besides empowering them to make rules for levying a local government tax. The Assembly also passed “The Defence Housing Authority Bill” to provide legal cover to the DHA, Islamabad which has already planned and developed schemes within the area forming part of Rawalpindi district.

The Assembly approved establishment of Social Services Board and adopted Lahore Canal Heritage Park Bill.  Earlier, the Treasury hooted at the Opposition Leader Raja Riaz when he sought chair’s permission to speak on a point of order. Raja got this treatment when he condemned the PML-N leadership for stopping its members to attend a dinner hosted by Punjab Governor Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood on Sunday last.  As the Speaker failed to maintain order in the House, Raja, in a virtual fit of fury challenged Leader of the House Shahbaz Sharif to come to the Assembly and see what happens. “We would throw him out of the House, come what may”, he roared with anger. 

He also accused the PML-N leadership of creating hurdles in the way of political reconciliation. Raja also grilled the chief minister for stopping development funds of opposition members. He  questioned the impartiality of the Speaker, saying that he had become partial as the treasury members were making noise in the House with his connivance.  The opposition leader concluded his speech by advising Sharifs to shun politics of hate and create flexibility in their dealings with other political parties.