President returns 13 bills unsigned

Alvi gives his seal of approval to PEMRA Amendment Bill

Waqas Ahmed August 16, 2023
President Arif Alvi pictured during his interview. SCREENGRAB/FILE



President Dr Arif Alvi has refused to sign and returned 13 bills approved by both houses of parliament including the one aimed at empowering police to arrest a person without a warrant.

According to sources, the president has sent back the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2023 without his signature, a piece of legislation that gave additional powers to police.

The other bills returned to parliament for reconsideration include the Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Bill; National Skills University (Amendment) Bill; Import Export (Amendment) Bill; and Pakistan Institute of Management Sciences and Technology Bill.

President Alvi also sent back the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals’ Bill; Newspapers, News Agencies and Books Registration Bill; Federal Public Service Commission (Amendment) Bill; Federal Urdu University (Amendment) Bill; and NFC Institute Multan (Amendment) Bill.

The National Commission for Human Development (Amendment) Bill; National Institute for Technology Bill; and Horizon University Bill were returned without signature as well.

However, the president gave his seal of approval to the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Amendment Bill, 2023. Dr Alvi approved the bill under Article 75 of the Constitution, according to a statement issued by the Presidency.

Almost half of the returned bills were passed by the National Assembly on July 27 this year in a single day with only 15 lawmakers belonging to the ruling alliance present in the House.

The NA session, chaired by Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf, started off with 36 bills on its agenda. In just an hour, the house approved 29 of them without the lawmakers even bothering to read them.

The speaker even allowed the lawmakers to move motions for the passage of the bills, even on behalf of those members who were absent from the proceedings.

Eighteen of the bills that were tabled for setting up new universities were given the nod without even referring them to the relevant NA standing committees.

Noor Alam Khan, a dissident member of the PTI, raised his objection to passing so many bills without the quorum in the house. He regretted that there were no members or ministers in the assembly.

Noor said the state of education in the country should also be taken into account before passing so many laws related to establishing universities and other institutions.

However, Parliamentary Affairs Secretary Saad Waseem told him that all these universities would be set up after the completion of the formalities and approval of the HEC.


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