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ISLAMABAD: Amidst opposition from the federal government, the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change on Friday passed "The Islamabad Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) (Amendment) Bill 2020" that seeks four-year, tenure-based appointment of the chairman/chairperson and members of Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) with its reconstitution.

In the committee meeting presided over by Mushahid Hussain Sayed, the bill was reviewed in detail and finally passed by the committee.

The Secretary of Climate Change, Naheed Shah Durrani, opposed the bill on the grounds that the federal government planned to introduce a comprehensive legislation in this regard.

However, the committee put its weight behind the bill and nodded in its favour. Moved by Javed Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the bill seeks to amend the Islamabad Wildlife (Protection, Preservation, Conservation and Management) Ordinance 1979 for the reconstitution of the IWMB that would consist of a chairman/chairperson and 10 members.

They would be appointed for four years, according to the bill. The bill seeks appointment of IWMB members to be consisting of one member each from the Senate and the National Assembly, the mayor of Islamabad and seven members from "civil society, wildlife rights activists, wildlife journalists and legal experts on wildlife".

The chairman/chairperson of the board shall be an eminent "professional of known integrity and competence having master's degree and substantial experience in the field of wildlife, environmental management or environmental laws," according to the bill.

"This Bill would help bring about fundamental change to institutionalise IWMB as a focal institution in preserving and promoting Margalla Hills National Park, environment and climate change," Mushahid said.

"This is a concrete legislation which would be a step forward in improving the functioning of the IWMB," he said.

The committee observed that the bill aims to make the IWMB "truly representative in terms of professional experience and expertise and representative of Pakistan's diverse and dynamic civil society".

The committee recognized the efforts and contribution of IWMB chairperson Rina Saeed Khan for "her knowledge, expertise and love for nature."

The committee also lauded the performance of Climate Change secretary Naheed Shah Durrani, saying that her "track record shows strong commitment to the cause of climate change and environment".

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021