Opp cries foul as Senate passes NAB Ordinance, Journalists Protection Bill
Upper House also stamps HEC Amendment Bills
The Opposition cried foul as the Senate on Friday approved approved National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Ordinance 2021 and Journalist Protection and Media Professionals Bill, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
During the session chaired by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, the leaders of the opposition parties recorded their protest, tore apart copies of the agenda and chanted slogans against the PTI government for getting the legislation passed through supplementary agenda.
The senators green-signalled the NAB Amendment Ordinance 2021 and journalists’ protection bill. The Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021 and Higher Education Commission (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021 have also been approved.
The Opposition raised hue and cry over the government’s behaviour with Senator Musadiq Malik and Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar accused the rulers of framing “fake legislations”. They vowed not to let the bill regarding State Bank pass through the upper house.
The Opposition senators protested against the government’s introduction of the supplementary agenda. They then surrounded the dais of the Senate chairman and demanded to send the bills to the relevant committee.
Sadiq Sanjrani, however, ignored their protest and get the bills passed through majority votes. The bills got 35 votes in favour and 29 against.
The opposition leaders also accused the government of reducing the upper house to a rubber-stamp like the lower house of the parliament.
Members of the opposition were of the view that the government-sponsored bills were devoid of substance, and that it was trying to get them passed in a rush.
They vowed to block the passage of the bill relating to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) come what may.
When the Senators belonging to the opposition alleged that the government did not have the required numerical strength to ensure the passage of its bills, the chairman asked them to muster the support of required number of senators before blaming the government.
Speaking on the occasion, Pakistan Peoples Party Senator (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman said that today ‘Dilawar Group’ had voted in favour of the government bills. “There was a time when this group used to support us (the opposition). We will talk to them to sort out the differences,” she added.
Fawad greets working journalists
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Friday congratulated working journalists over the passage of Journalist Protection Act ( JPA) from the Senate.
In a couple of tweets, he said the law would, for the first time, give working journalists the same rights as the journalist community enjoyed in highly developed societies.
ورکنگ جرنلسٹ کو بہت مبارک آج Journalist Protection Act سینٹ نے بھی پاس کر دیا، اس بل سے ورکنگ صحافیوں کو پہلی بار ایسے حقوق حاصل ہوں گے جو صرف انتہائ ترقی یافتہ معاشروں میں صحافیوں کو ملتے ہیں، یہ قانون @ImranKhanPTI جکومت کی صحافتی آزادیوں سے وابستگی کا اظہار ہے— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) November 19, 2021
The minister said the law was manifestation of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment to press freedom.
He thanked Minister for Human Rights Shereen Mazari who worked hard to transform this idea into reality on his request.
یہاں میں @ShireenMazari1 کا بہت شکریہ ادا کرنا چاہتا ہوں جنہوں نے میری درخواست پر اس آئیڈیا کو عملی صورت دینے میں بہت کام کیا ، اس قانون پر عملدرآمد صحافیوں کے کام کو محفوظ بنانے میں اور ان کی زندگیوں میں تبدیلیاں لانے میں اہم کردار ادا کرے گا— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) November 19, 2021
Fawad said that implementation of this law would play an important role in protecting the journalists and bringing about positive change in their lives.
Guantanamo Bay prisoners
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that the government is coordinating with the US authorities for repatriation of Saifullah Paracha and some other Pakistanis from Guantanamo Bay.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan has always been raising voice for the people handed over to the US during the Afghan war. He said seven new educational institutes will be constructed in Islamabad territory. He said 230 new classrooms are being built in 31 institutes of the capital.
The minister said the federal government provided over 39 billion rupees to public sector universities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during the last three years.
Later, the Senate session was prorogued for an indefinite time period.
Reporter Waqas Azeem