ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday introduced ‘The China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Bill, 2020’ and ‘The Constitution (Twenty-sixth Amendment) Bill, 2020’ in National Assembly.
The National Assembly also passed two bills – The Control of Narcotic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and The Emigration (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
The statement of objects and reasons of ‘The China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Bill, 2020’, says: “No Suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the authority, the chairperson, member, executive director operations, executive director research, employees, officers, experts, consultants or advisors of the authority, in respect of anything done or purported to be done in good faith, under the provisions of this Act or the rules and regulations.”
It also says that “the authority would be responsible for planning, facilitating, coordination, monitoring, and evaluating to ensure implementation of all activates related to the CPEC, ensuring inter-provincial and inter-ministerial coordination, organizing and coordinating meetings and joint cooperation committee and joint working groups, conducting sectoral research for informed decisions making and along terms planning; monitoring and evaluation and to ensure implementation beside narrative building and communication of CPEC and other related activities from time to time.”
According to statement of objects and reasons of The Constitution (Twenty-sixth Amendment) Bill, 2020, “the bill is aimed at transparent Senate elections without manipulations that have happened in the past and grant full voting rights to the overseas Pakistanis are the long outstanding demands of almost all the political parties including PTI. Federal Cabinet has also constituted a Cabinet Committee to formulate recommendations regarding electoral reforms to ensure transparent, free and fair elections in the country. Based on the recommendations of the committee, the Cabinet approved electoral reforms package consisting of the Constitution (twenty-sixth) Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2020. These bills broadly cover the Senate elections, women and minorities reserved seats, delimitation of constituencies on the basis of enrolled voters instead of population, voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and conditional participation of dual nationals in elections”.
According objects and reasons, “The Control of Narcotic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2020”, ‘if any offence is committed relating to psychotropic substance (more than three kilograms and up to four kilograms) inside or near a school, college, university, educational setting or any other educational institution, he/she shall be punishable with imprisonment but shall not be less than twenty years along with fine which shall not less than two million and five hundred thousand rupees.
“If any offence is committed relating to psychotropic substance ( 1000 grams to 4999 grams), the imprisonment which may be extend to twenty years but shall not be less then fifteen years along with fine which may be up to two million and five hundred thousand rupees but not less than five hundred thousand rupees”.
The House also passed three resolutions extending Public Procurement Regulatory (Amendment) Ordinance, the Public Private Partnership Authority (Amendment) Ordinance and the Corporate Restructuring Companies (Amendment) Ordinance for a period of one hundred and twenty days. Prime Minister adviser on parliamentary affairs Babar Awan moved the resolutions.
Naveed Qamar of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said that the government is extending ordinances in spite of legislation. He said that the government is being run through ordinances and it rendered the parliament paralyzed.
“We are against ordinances and we strongly opposed them. The government should make legislation by taking the opposition into confidence,” he said.
Responding to a calling attention notice, state minister for parliamentary affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said the government has brought a change in the drug policy under which the pharma companies cannot increase the prices of medicines without approval of relevant ministry.
He said the prices of medicines have been rationalized to ensure their availability in the market, adding that the prices of 89 medicines have also been reduced.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Noor Alam Khan criticized the government over increasing rates of medicines, electricity, gas and other items of daily use.
He said that ‘we are elected representatives and we are answerable before the people, adding, “the lives of people have become miserable due to price hike in the country”. He said that the price of medicines have been increased three times in two years.
PTI MNAs Riaz Fatyana and Khawja Sheraz also expressed concern over the increase in the prices of medicines and other commodities.
Fatyana said that 200 percent price of 12000 medicines has been increased, adding the government should reduce customs duty on the import of drugs’ chemical to decrease the prices of medicines. He said that there is also need to formulate general policy for medicines.
POINT OF ORDER
Speaking on a point of order, minister for science and technology Fawad Chaudhary asked the opposition parties to sit with the government for talks on electoral reforms and better future of the country.
However, he said no compromise will be made on their corruption cases.
“They [opposition] should not target the state…the language used against state institutions by the opposition parties in their protest gatherings is pathetic,” he said.
The House prorogued sine die.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020