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January 14, 2020

ECP appointments: Bill presented in Senate to refer matter to SC if deadlock persists

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January 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The bill presented by PML-N’s General (R) Abdul Qayyum to further amend the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan (amendments in Articles 213 and 215) was referred to the committee concerned for deliberations and report.

The amendments provide for moving the Supreme Court (SC) in case of a deadlock on the name of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). The SC to select CEC out of six names or it could name anyone else for the slot. Likewise, the amendments envisage completion of the process of appointment of Election Commission members, before the incumbent members bow out. “Amendments will ensure that no deadlock occurs and the Election Commission does not become dysfunctional,” he explained.

Lawmakers, belonging to Balochistan, in the Senate Monday cautioned the federal and provincial governments about the impending human disaster in the snow and rain-hit districts of the largest province, as all road links had disrupted.

Mir Kabir Shahi and Tahir Bizenjo of the National Party and Kulsoom Parveen of PML-N articulated what they billed as alarming situation in many districts, including Kalat, Dasht, Makran, Nokundi and Panjgur. They pointed out that people would shortly face food shortage, as the road links were cut off and could die of freezing cold as well, if much-needed relief items did not reach them as early as possible. The people stranded at their houses in mountainous areas also desperately needed relief help, they said.

One Senator from the province even alleged that the Balochistan government ministers and advisers had just two things to do: either playing with their cell phones or chewing gum, leaving the province totally helpless and unattended.

The Senate unanimously passed a Community Integration Bill: The Islamabad Community Integration Act, 2019 to review the basic human values, introduced by the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in the State of Madina. “It is alarming that in a city of 20 million people, a poor father torched himself for not being able to provide warm clothes to his children. We all are responsible for such tragedies,” Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad, who moved the bill for voting in the House, said.

He maintained that the proposed legislation would help revive the old human values, compassion and sympathies for other, who needed a healing touch. He explained a ten-member committee would be formed in all localities to take care of 100 families and address their basic issues.

“The law will go a long way in combating brawls, crimes, acts of suicide, poverty and promote religious harmony as well,” he said. The bill was initially contested by Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah, saying that it was just a repetition of the local government system.

He hoped that the initiative would clear the way for Pakistani society to become a welfare society. MQM-Pakistan Senator Khushbakht Shujaat’s bill to repeal and enact the law relating to the Postal Services (The Post Office Bill, 2019) was passed unanimously. She said that the move was aimed at making the postal services consumer-friendly and in line with the modern day needs.

The House adopted a unanimous resolution to pay tributes to late Justice Fakhruddin G Ebrahim, who passed away Tuesday last. The senators expressed profound grief and sorrow over his death and said his services would be long remembered as a lawyer and justice. Senator Maulana Attaur Rehman led fateha for the departed souls and those, who lost their lives in a terrorist attack inside a mosque in Quetta on Friday. The House also prayed for the departed soul of Oman’s king late Sultan Qaboos. Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani called him a great friend of Pakistan, who was a visionary leader, having served his people in the best possible way.

Senators from across the aisle spoke on how and why the auto industry was facing a crisis-like situation with the sale of cars is plunging. The motion to this effect was moved by Senator Kulsoom Parveen, who said that imposition and increase in taxes had resulted in firing of thousands of employees and fall by 39 percent in the demand of cars. She added the ban on important of second hand cars had also contributed to the present situation.

Senator Ateeq Sheikh of MQM-Pakistan said that a cartel was behind the crisis, as same cars being manufactured in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand were cheaper in prices and better in quality than those, being sold in Pakistan while millions were being minted in the name of booking. He said prices kept on increasing but under CKD policy, downstream factories were not built in Pakistan, closing doors on new investors. He claimed Pakistani engineers had manufactured electronic vehicle, but alleged it was not being approved by the Engineering Development Board.

PTI Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak said that the tractors being manufactured in Pakistan were quite cheaper but the vehicles were not and the reason for this was that 30 percent value-addition concept was not being implemented, as only vehicle sheet was being made in Pakistan while the engine, piston and other items were being imported. “The price transferring game is being played with no quality check and safety testing. But for the first time, a summary is before the cabinet for legislation,” he noted.

PPP’s A Rehman Malik proposed establishment of a price and control authority to check vehicles’ quality and keep an eye on their prices for which he called for legislation. Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Muhammad Azam Swati supported referral of the matter to the House concerned. He said under the new auto policy, two Korean companies and five Chinese companies would establish manufacturing units in Pakistan, whereas 18 plants had been established already.

JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad’s resolution on increase in the Higher Education Commission budget was also passed, which called on the government to take immediate steps to provide Rs21 billion more to the HEC in order to enable universities to overcome their financial crisis.