NA amends rules about arrest of lawmakers

House makes prior permission from speaker mandatory

Saqib Virk October 21, 2022



The National Assembly on Thursday amended its rules to make the prior permission of the speaker for the arrest of any member of the house and the issuance of production order for an arrested lawmaker, mandatory.

The house met with Acting Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani in the chair. When the session convened only 21 members were present in the house, however, no one pointed out the quorum.

At the onset of the session, the chair sought the list of officers of various ministries present in the gallery. The chair also took notice of the absence of Chief Whip and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi.

During the Question Hour, Sheikh Rohail Asghar complained about the absence of officers in the gallery. However, the acting speaker replied that officers of all the relevant ministries were present.

Later, Abbasi presented amendments to the rules of procedure, pertaining to the arrest of a member of the National Assembly (MNA). Birjees Tahir of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supported the amendments.

“People lose representation, when the elected people are arrested,” Tahir told the house, adding that these amendments should have been brought to the house much earlier.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Poverty Alleviation Minister Shazi Marri also supported the amendments. Similarly, Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali not only backed the amendments but also demanded the production order of Ali Wazir.

Later, the house approved the amendments to the rules. According to the amendments, permission from the speaker will be necessary for the arrest of a member of the National Assembly.

Besides, no member would be arrested from the National Assembly premises. Also the amendments make issuance of production order by the speaker mandatory during the session.

Through another amendment to the rules, the house makes it mandatory that the during the session, the residence of the arrested member or the Parliament Lodges would declared as sub-jail, where the arrested member would reside.

During the Question Hour earlier, Acting Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani and Environment Minister Sherry Rehman squabbled over repeated questions from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F (JUI-F) lawmaker Aliya Kamran.

Rehman said that only one question could be asked on calling attention notice, adding that Kamran had asked three questions. Durrani said it was for the chair to determine the number of questions to be asked.

Treasury member Sheikh Rohail Asghar said on a point of order that the government hospitals used to provide free treatment but now every government had started a new tradition of issuing cards.

“Will the Pakistani nation get the same old free treatment facility without a card,” he asked. Parliamentary Secretary for Health Dr Shazia Sobia replied that all Pakistanis can avail this facility through health cards.

“For those who do not have health cards, free facility is available if they are national identity card holders,” she added. “The free treatment facility is available to all Pakistanis,” she added.


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