Islamabad: Pakistan’s National Assembly (NA) has passed the Islamabad Capital Territory Food Safety Bill for the establishment of the Islamabad Food Authority (IFA) in the capital. The step aims at monitoring quality, prices of food and drink items in the city.
Besides, a food laboratory would also be set up under the IFA to examine ingredients of food and vegetable particularly that is served at hotels, marriage halls and public places.
According to the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Capital Development Authority (CDA) Ali Nawaz Awan, the establishment of the IFA will bring much-needed relief for the residents of the capital, a city of over 2 million.
Adulteration in milk, food items
Islamabad since its establishment as the capital back in 1960 has been without any authority to check the adulteration in food items. “In the absence of a proper food authority, the people of Islamabad have been facing issues of adulteration in food items including milk,” said Khalid, a resident of the posh sector F-6/4 while talking to Gulf News.
“Besides, there is no proper system in place to check the quality of meat being sold in the markets”, he said adding that once the food authority is set up these issues would be resolved.
Rent restriction & real estate bills
Besides the food authority bill, the national assembly also passed two other “Islamabad-centric” bills—Rent Restriction Amendment Act and the Real Estate (Regulation and Development Act)—which too, were kept pending for a long time.Awan was of the view that most people in the city have been subjected to unfair and abrupt eviction or rental inflation annually. As such, laws pertaining to rent have been amended in a manner to legally protect tenants along with the landlord as well.
The Rent Restriction Amendment Bills seeks to create a mediating body between both parties, enforce the use of a rent controller for the purpose of record keeping, utilize cross cheques or receipts for proof of payments and adhere to the annual increase, at least a minimum of five percent of rent amounts. Surely, such a system, provided that the government is able to carry out efficient implementation, is sure to protect the rights of the people.
These bills were earlier passed by the Senate, and after the approval of the NA, they have effectively become laws that the masses must adhere to. In such tough times, such laws have the ability to ensure that exploitation is kept to a minimum.
According to Awan, Rent Restriction Amendment Bill has also been a long-standing demand of tenants and landlords in Islamabad seeking amendment in the Islamabad Rent Restriction Ordinance 2001.
The bill says, “Every agreement between landlord and tenant shall be presented before the rent controller for record keeping. Any payment, related to tenancy agreement shall be made through cross cheques and or with an official receipt/acknowledgement.”