Saturday September 25, 2021

Govt manages to get extension in ordinances

Govt manages to get extension in ordinances

ISLAMABAD: The opposition in the National Assembly Friday protested promulgation of ordinances and called for adopting the path of legislation after consideration by the two Houses of Parliament.

“The government is using promulgation of ordinances to attack institutions like the Higher Education Commission (HEC), National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, making election laws and extending and reducing the services of people on key posts,” opposition members, including Ahsan Iqbal, Khurram Dastagir Khan and others, said.

Khurram Dastagir said it was the seventh occasion that Imran Khan was attacking institutions. “The Election Commission was attacked with ordinances, then an ordinance regarding the National Finance Commission was promulgated and a situation was created on extension of the army chief in a similar way,” he said. PMLN member Khurram Dastagir Khan said the government wanted to remove the HEC chairman because he did not accept its illegitimate demands and the Commission was also being placed under the Ministry of Education.

Ahsan Iqbal said ordinances were promulgated only in case of emergency saying the government had opened a factory issuing ordinances in the President House. “A session of the National Assembly is adjourned and ordinances are promulgated and then next session is summoned,” he said. The house Friday passed three resolutions extending the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Ordinance, the Higher Education Commission Amendment Ordinance (IX of 2021) and Higher Education Commission Second Amendment Ordinance (X of 2021) for a further period of 120 days.

Commenting on extension of the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Ordinance, the PML-N member said it was a kind of mini-finance bill which directly impacted pocket of the common man. “As per Constitution, such legislation is prerogative of the National Assembly only,” he said. He said the ordinance had been promulgated and now being extended under the IMF agenda having nothing to do with people of the country. “The government promulgates ordinances without any diligence and bulldozes the legislative business,” he said, adding this way the legislative business was bulldozed undermining prerogative of the House. Ahsan Iqbal said that in the last three years, the Government had promulgated 50 ordinances.

Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also opposed extension in the period of ordinances relating to the HEC saying first an ordinance was promulgated to reduce tenure of the chairman and then another was promulgated to place the HEC under the Ministry of Education.

Other opposition members including Syed Naveed Qamar, Dr. Nafeesa Shah and Shahida Akhtar Ali, also opposed extension in the period of ordinances. “The government is breaching the privilege of the National Assembly by using it just to extend ordinances instead of following path of ordinances,” Dr. Nafeesa Shah said, adding that ordinance was an emergency law. She said it was condemnable that the government decided to reduce the tenure of heads of certain institutions through promulgation of ordinances.

Adviser to the Prime Minister Ali Nawaz Awan rejected the objections of the opposition members on promulgation and extension of ordinances. He said the last government promulgated 23 ordinances every year, while the PTI government so far had promulgated 17 ordinances each year.

Meanwhile, claiming issuance of four million Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs), the MQM parliamentarians raised questions over credibility of the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra).

The government informed the National Assembly that a number of officials of the National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) had been found involved in practice of issuance of fake CNICs. Responding to a calling attention notice, Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Shaukat Ali said 39 officials of Nadra had been suspended for their involvement in issuance of fake CNICs. He said an FIR had also been registered against 10 officials while five officials had been arrested. He said action against the Nadra officials was taken following a report by the FIA. “We took notice of issue and directed the FIA to carry out investigations,” he said.

Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Abdul Akbar Chitrali and others regarding obscenity on the TV channels, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said the Pemra had been directed to issue an advisory to the TV channels on this matter. He said the Pemra in accordance with its code of conduct took action against indecent and objectionable content. Ms Nuzhat Pathan also supported views of JI and JUI-F members on obscenity on television channels. “Fashion shows are shown on channels, while female models wearing brief dresses appear in advertisements,” she said.

Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali said the issue could not be resolved by imposing fine of few thousand rupees saying strict action should be taken against television channels.

The National Assembly on Friday passed two bills. These include Islamabad Capital Territory Senior Citizens Bill, 2021 for well-being and dignity of senior citizens and the Special Technology Zones Authority Bill, 2021). The house passed three resolutions extending the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Ordinance, the Higher Education Commission Amendment Ordinance (IX of 2021) and Higher Education Commission Second Amendment Ordinance (X of 2021) for a further period of 120 days.

Earlier, during the question hour, lack of quorum of was pointed out by an opposition member resulting in suspension of proceedings for 30 minutes.