ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice Thursday passed the ‘The Constitution (Twenty Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2020’ aimed at holding elections in the Senate through open ballot to ensure transparency.
The 45th meeting of the Standing Committee on Law and Justice was held under the chairmanship of Riaz Fatyana, here on Thursday. The Committee unanimously confirmed the minutes of its previous meetings held on 13th and 14th January.
The committee considered ‘The Constitution (Twenty Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2020 Government Bill,’ which was moved by Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan.
According to the objectives of the bill, transparent Senate elections without manipulations that have happened in the past and grant of voting rights to the overseas Pakistanis are the long outstanding demands of almost all the political parties including PTl.
Federal Cabinet, in its meeting held on 28th January, 2020 constituted a cabinet committee to formulate recommendations regarding electoral reforms in order to ensure transparent, free and fair elections in the country.
Based on the recommendations of the committee, the cabinet approved electoral reform 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.
The bill proposed the amendment to be made in Article 59(2) where the word ‘open’ has been inserted for the Senate election.
The bill also proposed to change Article 63(1)(c).
In the Constitution in Article 63, in clause (1), in paragraph (c), for the words "or acquires the citizenship of a foreign State", the words "or in case of dual citizenship does not provide as a conclusive proof the certificate of renunciation of citizenship of a foreign State before taking oath" shall be substituted.
The Committee considered the bill ‘The Constitution (Twenty Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2020 Government Bill’.
After detailed deliberations, the Committee recommends with majority that the bill may be passed by the assembly.
The Committee deferred the bills; The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (Article 140B) moved by Kishwer Zehra, MNA, and The Legal Aid and Justice Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (Section 2, 6&9A) moved by Uzma Riaz, MNA.
Members/MNAs/movers Atta Ullah, Lal Chand, Kishwar Zehra, Malika Ali Bukhari, Muhammad Sana Ullah Khan Masti Khel, Malik Muhammad Ehsan Ullah Tiwana, Junaid Akbar, Shunila Ruth, Usman Ibrahim, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Syed Hussain Tariq, Nafeesa Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar, Aliya Kamran, and secretary Ministry of Law and Justice, secretary Ministry of Parliamentary affairs, secretary Ministry of Human Rights, secretary Election Commission of Pakistan, attended the meeting besides the senior officers from the concerned ministries and their staff.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021