CPEC Bill tabled, NA adjourned indefinitely as govt breaks quorum
Two treasury members express anger over frequent increase in drugs’ prices
The National Assembly session was adjourned for an indefinite period on Thursday after the government tabled the CPEC Authority Bill 2020 along with some other proposed legislations in the House, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
During the proceedings, the treasury and opposition benches again exchanged barbs as even the government members – Noor Alam Khan and Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood – were critical of the increase in medicines’ prices.
Noor Alam said they could not remain silent when drugs were getting expensive for the people as the move had been repeated thrice under the current government.
Meanwhile, the government used the tactics usually employed by the opposition to ensure that the rival members could not speak in the House. For this purpose, they left the House, breaking the quorum necessary to continue the sitting.
As a result, Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri adjourned the session for an indefinite period.
Earlier, the opposition members protested as copies of the CPEC Authority Bill and others were not provided to them.
The protest came after Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan tabled various bills – including the one concerning an amendment in the Constitution to allow the overseas Pakistanis to contest elections.
On the other hand, the salient features of the CPEC Authority Bill show that its chairperson and members are immune from any legal actions. Initially appointed for four years, they can be appointed for another term.
As a whole, the Authority will comprise the chairperson, executive director operations or executive director research and six members.
Meanwhile, all the appointments would be made by the prime minister who is also supposed to frame the conditions and rules. Any person having a conflict of interest won’t be eligible for the top two slots.
Another important point of the Bill is that the CPEC Authority can seek information to perform the duties and is also allowed to demand any facility from any authority or agency as well as any local or provincial governments.
The CPEC Authority is currently working on the basis of an ordinance since its establishment last year.
Commenting on the controversial issue, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman on Thursday said the future of CPEC had been ruined, as he blasted the PTI government’s policy on the venture which is vital to the country’s future.
China wasn’t happy with Pakistan, he told reporters in Multan, adding that the country had isolated in the world.
Describing it as a blatant attempt to protect corruption in the multi-billion dollar project, Fazl said a bill was being introduced in National Assembly later in the day to exempt the CPEC Authority chairperson from any accountability.