Thursday, December 8
Shadow

 (National) NA refers 13 Private Members’ bills to committees

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly passed three private members’ bills and referred 13 other legislative proposals to the relevant standing committees amid opposition’s protest in the House, observes Free and Fair Election Network in its Daily Factsheet.

The National Assembly met for an hour and 44 minutes; however, the proceedings remained suspended for 19 minutes due to prayer break.

The sitting started at 1640 hours against the scheduled time of 1600 hours. The Deputy Speaker presided over the entire sitting in the absence of Speaker. The Leaders of the House (Prime Minister) and the Opposition did not attend the sitting. As many as 74 (22%) were present at the outset and 78 (23%) at the adjournment of the sitting. The parliamentary leaders of BAP, PML-N, MQM and PPPP attended the sitting. Five out of 10 minority lawmakers were present.

The House witnessed introduction of 13 private members’ bills which were referred to the relevant committees. These bills were the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (section-5 and Schedule); the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the Mental Health (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the National Database and Registration Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the Islamabad Rent Restriction (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the National, Vocational and Technical Training Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2020: the Biometric Electoral Voting Bill, 2020; the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (Insertion of Article26A); the Legal Aid and Justice Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the Prevention of Offences in Sports Bill, 2020; the Islamabad Model Police Bill, 2020 and the Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2020. All these bills were referred to the relevant committees for further deliberations.

The House rejected two bills after voting which were the High Courts (Establishment) (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the National Commission on the Rights of the Child (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Another 27 private members’ bills were deferred as the majority of its movers belonging to the opposition were protesting at the time of consideration of these bills. The House passed three other private members’ bills as reported by the relevant Standing Committees. These bills were the Islamabad Rent Restriction (Amendment) Bill, 2020; the Islamabad Capital Territory Food Safety Bill, 2020 and the Islamabad Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2020.

Four reports of as many Standing Committees were presented in the House while leave was granted after passage of motion to lay a report of Standing Committee on Interior but it could not be tabled due to quorum issue.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health responded to a Calling Attention Notice regarding scarcity of medical equipment and MRI machines in PIMS and Poly Clinic Hospitals, Islamabad. Another CAN on the agenda remained unaddressed.

The entire opposition protested for 41 minutes during the proceedings when the Chair disallowed them to speak on points of order. They blew whistles, protested in front of dais of the Chair and also waked out of the House for ten minutes.

A PPPP lawmaker pointed out the quorum at 1730 hours but it was found complete upon counting.

A PML-N lawmaker again pointed out the quorum at 1759 hours following which the Chair suspended the proceedings at 1803 hours for prayer break. On resumption of the proceedings at 1822 hours, the quorum was found incomplete upon counting and the House was adjourned to meet again on October 23, 2020 (Friday) at 1030 hours.