Lack of quorum persists as NA passes two govt bills

National Assembly session was temporarily suspended for more than an hour because of lack of quorum


Danish Hussain March 23, 2017
PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: Despite being marred by lack of quorum, the lower house of parliament passed two government bills, including The Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Bill, 2017, during the Wednesday sitting.

The National Assembly session was temporarily suspended for more than an hour because of lack of quorum that persisted almost throughout the sitting.

The House, however, approved the Public Private Partnership Authority Bill and The Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Bill. Both the bills had already been passed by the Senate.

Govt left red-faced as Senate defers voting till March 28

Khurshid Shah criticizes government

Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah severely criticized what he dubbed the government’s ‘anti-poor’ economic policies, ‘weakening the federation’ by ignoring development of provinces except Punjab.

Power outages, he said, still persisted in Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, adding that only an economy which provided “meals and livelihoods to the people is acceptable to people of the country”.

He said that although the government claimed that the economy had strengthened, the people were starving because the government refused to pass on benefit of low petroleum prices to the masses.

Referring to Panama Papers, Shah said people were awaiting the verdict on the Panama leaks, adding that it was incumbent on the judiciary to give a solid verdict in this regard.

Criticising the absence of the prime minister and cabinet members, he said: “The entire country is waiting for a decision in the Panama case.”

Shah later staged a walkout in protest against the federal government.

Opposition parties except MQM also staged two separate walkouts against government policies and disorderly conduct of the House business.

Government Bills

The Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Bill, already approved by the Senate with some amendments, bestows additional powers to the inquiry commission that would be formed under Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act of 1956.

The bill provides for the formation of commissions of inquiry whenever necessity arises to conduct an inquiry of a matter of public importance. The bill replaces Commission of Inquiry Act of 1956.

The Public Private Partnership Authority Bill is aimed at promoting domestic and foreign private investment in infrastructure and private sector participation in economic development.

According to the bill, the Public Private Partnership Authority will be bound to present its annual report within 120 days from the end of each financial year, and the authority shall prepare a report on its activities, including public-private partnership agreements, progress on projects and utilisation of funds under this act during that financial year.

Military courts revival wins NA nod

Reports on ‘The Constitution (Twenty-Fourth Amendment) Bill, 2016’ and ‘The Constitution (Twenty-Fifth Amendment) Bill, 2016’ were also presented in the house.

The 24th and 25th constitutional amendments provide right of appeal within 30 days of an order of the Supreme Court under clause (3) of Article 184 (suo-motu case) of the Constitution and to increase pensions of families of retired and deceased civil servants and widows of judges of superior courts from 50 percent to 75 percent, respectively.

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