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After Speedy Passage of Service Chiefs Extension Bill, Senate Blocks Other Bills

Published Jan 18, 2020
Updated Feb 25, 2020

Pakistan’s opposition which was quick to pass bills related to extension of service tenures of the service chiefs including the ongoing case of Army Chief General Qamar JavedBajwa, have refused to allow the immediate passage of seven bills by the Senate, the upper house of parliament.

The government has asked for Zainab Alert Bill, ICT Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Bill, Legal Aid and Justice Authority Bill, Enforcement of Women Property Rights Bill, the Court Dress and Mode of Address Bill and Code of Civil Procedure Amendment Bill, already passed by the National Assembly, to be immediately taken up in the Senate for consideration and approval.

The opposition was of the view however that the bills should be placed before the Senate committees as per the normal procedure.
“Today unfortunately the Opposition in the Senate chose to refer our Zainab Alert Bill and Disability Bill to the Senate HR Standing Committee before it gets passed from the Senate. Disappointing to say the least,” the human rights minister Shireen Mazari tweeted after the senate session.

“Sorry I don’t understand why it’s called disappointing for a bill to go to its regular standing committee. When a bill is passed in one house, it goes through the standing committee of the other house. This is the parliamentary procedure for both houses. Why should it be bulldozed,” PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman responded on being questioned by the Dawn.

On the other hand Three bills — the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2020, the Pakistan Air Force (Amendment) Bill 2020 and the Pakistan Navy (Amendment) Bill 2020 — were passed by the Pakistan National Assembly and Senate post-haste. The opposition which has a majority in the Senate and a strong bench strength in the elected parliament did not even raise a whimper.

Legal luminaries and key politicians allege that a deal with the opposition was made allowing speedy passage of the bills for extension of tenure of the service chiefs, the immediately affected being the Army, Chief General Bajwa.