Bill on missing persons never went missing: Senate

Shireen Mazari in 2022 alleged bill went missing after it was sent to Senate

Our Correspondent January 08, 2024


The Senate Secretariat on Monday said the bill pertaining to enforced disappearances never went missing and was returned to the National Assembly after being passed by the upper house of parliament.

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bills 2021 was passed by the NA on Nov 8, 2021, aiming to make amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure. In 2022, the then human rights minister Shireen Mazari had alleged that the bill had gone missing after it was sent to the Senate.

Later, Shireen claimed that she was asked to appear at the Inter-Services Intelligence headquarters over the bill, adding that the bill, after being tabled in the NA, was referred to the interior committee where “invisible shadows tried to change the clauses”.

During the hearing of a case on enforced disappearances at the Supreme Court on Jan 2, Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa expressed surprise over the disappearance of the bill from the Senate.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Senate Secretariat, while referring to the top court’s Jan 2 hearing, said a reference was made to the bill “which originated in the National Assembly but presumably vanished when it was transmitted to the Senate”.

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“Moreover, it was claimed that the efforts of the federal minister to get the said bill passed were thwarted by the Senate chairman. However, the Supreme Court rightly noted that it would not be appropriate to attend to the above allegations made against the Senate chairman.

“Still, a false impression was created in the media that the bill actually went missing and the Senate chairman or Senate Secretariat had a role in it,” it noted.

The Senate Secretariat said, “The preposterous of the bill vanishing or alleged interference by the chairman was contradicted by factual details.” It stated that the said bill was introduced by the then interior minister in the NA on Jan 7, 2021.

It said the bill was passed by the NA on Nov 8, 2021 and as per constitutional and rules requirements, was sent to the Senate on Nov 10, 2021.

Read: SC wants missing persons’ report

The bill was tabled in the Senate on July 29, 2022, the secretariat stated, adding that it was the prerogative of the government to decide the timing of the tabling of a bill in the house by placing it on the proposal for the orders of the day provided by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. “The Senate is not mandated to bring a government bill on the agenda on its own,” it said.

“After tabling in the house, the bill was referred to the standing committee for consideration and report,” the Senate Secretariat said. The bill was passed by the Senate on Oct 20, 2022, with some amendments, it added.

“Accordingly, in pursuance of clause (2) of Article 70 of the Constitution of Pakistan, 1973 and rule 125 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012, the Bill was returned to the originating House, ie the National Assembly of Pakistan on October 20, 2022.”

It concluded that the factual position “enunciates that the subject bill was never missing, is not pending in the Senate Secretariat, rather has been returned to the National Assembly after passage in the Senate, as required by the Constitution and rules of the Senate”.


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