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Bill adopted for land acquisition under sharing formula

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly unanimously adopted the Peshawar Development Authority (amendment) Bill, 2021 on Monday, paving the way for acquiring land for the proposed Gandhara City.

Besides other changes to the appointment criterion and powers of PDA DG, etc, the bill suggests land acquisition under the land-sharing formula or authorising PDA to acquire land through the formula of allotting developed plots to the landowner, generally known as the one/fourth formula.

The opposition members Nighat Orakzai and Inayatullah Khan called for accommodating their amendments.

Inayatullah said land should be acquired after consulting the owners instead of imposing the unilateral authority of a government body. He argued agricultural land was squeezing due to the establishment of housing societies and constructions.

Awami National Party (ANP) parliamentary leader Sardar Babak complained the bills were being passed in a hurry and even ministers were unaware of the contents, aims and objectives of the legislation.

Minister for Local Governments Akbar Ayub, however, replied that the bill was needed to acquire land for the new proposed city, Peshawar Model Town, to be now named as Gandhara City and also acquiring land for Phase-VIII of Hayatabad township. He assured Inayatullah of accommodating his points while framing the rules.

He said the new city was not being established on agricultural land but on barren land between Peshawar and Nowshera and would be a completely new city where all government offices and other institutions including the assembly would be shifted there.

Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani taunted the Pakistan People’s Party’s Nighat Orakzai for disturbing the House and interrupting other members. He warned her of sending out of the assembly and called her an indecent woman. The House debated the adjournment motion of Mir Kalam Khan Wazir about the reduction of seats reserved in medical colleges for the students from former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata).

The members including independent Mir Kalam Khan, Ahmad Kundi of the PPP, JI Inayatullah and ANP’s Salahuddin complained that the seats reserved for students from the erstwhile Fata had been reduced by different provinces, which is an injustice with the students of tribal districts.

However, in his response, special assistant to the chief minister on higher education and information Kamran Bangash said the total seats reserved for ex-Fata students were 167, out of which 136 are in KP and 31 in other provinces.

The KP has doubled the seats from 136 to 272 and Pakistan Medical Commission has doubled the seats in other provinces’ institutions, he said. He lamented that the Sindh province – which had to increase the seats to eight from four – had not enhanced the seats and also not paid its share of the agreed formula.

The House unanimously passed a resolution by Wazirzada, demanding the police and administration be made bound to verify the outsiders who want to marry a girl from Chitral.

Ikhtiar Wali of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) complained that after defeat in the by-election, the ruling PTI leadership and authorities had stopped the TMA Nowshera from cleanliness and lifting the garbage. Later, the speaker prorogued the session sine die.

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