NA passes bill aimed at regulating mental health professionals

Ijaz Kakakhel

The National Assembly of Pakistan with majority passed on Tuesday the bill titled ‘Pakistan Psychological Council Bill, 2020’ aimed at regulating psychiatric practitioners to avoid unlicensed psychiatrists and quacks from fooling people.

The bill presented by PTI MNA Riaz Fatyana, suggests that a Council of Psychology should be established to register the psychiatrists.

Purpose of the bill is to extend a regularized platform to all mental health experts and license them to acknowledge and streamline the recovery from mental health matters.

The parliamentary standing committee already approved the bill in late 2020, after consultations the bill was presented today in the NA where it received majority support for passage. PTI MNA Fatyana said the bill help improve mental healthcare services in the country.

The National Assembly is transacting private members business today. Minister for National Education and Professional Training Shahfqat Mahmood has said that inefficient civil servants will be sent on retirement with all financial benefits after proper scrutiny to improve performance of the civil servants.

He was responding to a calling attention notice moved by Nafisa Shah and others regarding compulsory retirement of more than 300 CSS officers in violation of Civil Servant Act 1973, causing grave concern amongst the public.

The Minister said a scrutiny committee under the chairmanship of Chairman Federal Public Service Commission is looking into the matter and no arbitrary action will be taken.

He added that Section 13 (1) of the Civil Servant Act 1973 fully empowered the government to devise rules to evaluate performance of bureaucrats.

However, the PPP MNA Nafisa Shah called the rules totally against the law and claimed that it would lead disturbance among civil servants.

Such a discriminatory law will depend on like and dislike of government, which would create unrest among civil servants.

Responding to another question, Parliamentary Secretary on Interior Shaukat Ali informed the House that the allotment of farmhouses violating Capital Development Authority bylaws will be cancelled after fulfilling all the codal formalities. He said only 96 out of total 621 farmhouses in Islamabad are functioning as per law.

He said 542 farmhouses are active at present, 81 have violated covered area rules, while 365 are not doing any kind of farming, which is the main objective of establishing farmhouses in the federal capital so that residents of Islamabad can get fresh vegetables, fruits and other agricultural products.

The National Assembly extended the Capital Development Authority (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 and Income Tax (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 for a further period of 120 days with effect from 19th of this month.

The Houses also extended the PAF Air War College Institute Ordinance, 2021 for a further period of 120 days with effect from 20th of this month.

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