NA extends NAB Ordinance for 120 days amid opposition protest

PML-N accused Punjab CM of contempt of court for not restoring local bodies despite SC order


Our Correspondent May 29, 2021
PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The National Assembly adopted on Friday a resolution seeking extension of the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 for a period of 120 days more amid noisy scenes as the opposition protested against continuation of the session despite pointing out a lack of quorum.

The lack of quorum was pointed out by a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker, Sikandar Rahupoto but Speaker Asad Qaiser continued the proceedings. This prompted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Murtaza Javed Abbasi to rise in protest.

“Mr Speaker you have done this six times. Never before in history has a speaker done such a thing,” he said. However, after the passage of the resolution, the speaker said went for the quorum count and when it was found out of order, the session of adjourned.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan had tabled the resolution for extension of the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 for 120 days from June 9, 2021. The house passed the resolution amid noisy scenes.

Also during the session, PML-N lawmaker Ahsan Iqbal said that the local bodies in Punjab had not been restored despite Supreme Court’s order. He added that the court had ruled two months ago that the local bodies be restored, and accused the Punjab chief minister of violating the order.

Meanwhile, one government and three private members’ bills were introduced during the session which were referred to the relevant committees for further consideration. PPPs’ Shahida Rehmani moved the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Bill, 2021.

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari also moved an identical bill – the Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Bill, 2021. Both bills were referred to the Standing Committee on Human Rights for further consideration.

Two other private members’ bills including the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Amendment of Preamble and Article-36) and the Minorities Access to Higher Education Bill, 2021 were referred to the relevant committees.

Earlier during the question hour, Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Shaukat Ali informed the house that rooting out corruption was a priority of the government and across-the-board and transparent inquiries were being carried out against the people involved in malpractices.

Responding to a question, Ali said that Rs3 million fine was collected from hoarders during the holy month of Ramadan under the Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding Act, 1977. He said that 14 assistant commissioners and magistrates were deputed to check prices.

Also during the session, Kheal Das Kohistani, an opposition member from Jamshoro, along with Rahupoto, Dr Mahesh Malani and others protested, while carrying banners in favour of the demands of the employees of the Lakhra Power House and the Kotri Power House, Jamshoro.

Talking to media persons after the session, Inter Provincial Coordination Minister Dr Fahmid Mirza criticised the opposition lawmaker from Sindh for pointing the lack of quorum at a time when the lawmakers wanted to discuss the water shortage in Sindh.

“It is not incomprehensible why the issue of quorum has raised the opposition and especially by those belonging to Sindh. We will not allow the economic murder of Sindh. The water of Sindh is being taken away to a few individuals,” she added. (WITH INPUT FROM APP)

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