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ISLAMABAD: The absence of the ministers in the House on a private members' day on Tuesday irked Deputy Speaker National Assembly Qasim Suri, forcing him to give a ruling to ensure their presence in the House for smooth legislation.

The opposition lawmakers also strongly protested over the absence of the concerned ministers and the concerned parliamentary secretaries from the House, saying the ministers should make sure when the House is supposed to take up important legislation.

Agha Rafiullah of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) demanded the chair to give a ruling in order to ensure legislation, as government ministers are not giving importance to the parliamentary business, which is an insult to the House.

A total of 11 private members' bills were introduced in National Assembly of which, four bills had already been passed by the Senate. All the bills were referred to the concerned committees for further deliberation.

These bills include, The Central Law Officers (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Amendment in Article-185), The Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Section- 369A), The National Commission for Minorities Bill, 2021, The National Commission for Rights of Non-Muslims Bill, 2021, The Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal (Amendment) Bill, 2021, and The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Amendment in Article-156).

The bills which had been passed by the Senate include, The Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Islamabad Pure Food Authority Bill, 2020, and The Dyslexia Special Measures Bill, 2020'.

The chair deferred the following private members' bills due to absence of movers or relevant ministers - The International Institute of Science, Arts and Technology Bill, 2021, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Amendment in Article-84), The Memon University at Islamabad Bill, 2021, The Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Amendment in Article-59), The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Section- 489F and Schedule-II), The Recusant Witnesses (Repeal) Bill, 2021, The Trade Organizations (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The Children (Pledging of Labour) (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The Limitation (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020 (Amendment in Article-25), The Aiwan-e-Zarat Bill, 2021, and The Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

PPP's MNA Naveed Aamir Jeeva withdrew The National Database and Registration Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The House did not consider nine reports of various standing committees, three resolutions, a private member's bill, and an amendment in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of business in National Assembly, 2007.

Earlier, speaking on a point of order, Ahsan Iqbal of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that the Supreme Court had directed to restore local body system in Punjab on March 25, 2021, but despite passage of four months, the government has not implemented the apex court order.

"The biggest province of the country is being deprived of local government system and it is an assault on the rights of 58,000 local representatives...the court should take notice of it," he added. On another point of order, Khurram Dastagir Khan said that July 13 is the martyrs day, and we all should raise our voice for those who sacrificed their lives for upholding the just cause of the people of Kashmir.

He also raised objection of government ministers' visits to Kashmir ahead of Kashmir elections, saying they are busy in 'bribing' people to buy votes. He demanded to ensure free and fair election in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK). Ali Muhammad Khan, the State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs said the PML-N was in power in the AJK for the last five years but it gave nothing to the territory except dilapidated road, health, and education infrastructure.

"We've a comprehensive uplift programme for the AJK through which we will change the destiny of the area after coming into power after the elections," he added. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has forcefully raised the Kashmir dispute at all the international forums.

Responding to a calling attention notice, the Parliamentary Secretary for Water Resources Saleh Muhammad said Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are being provided with their due share of water, while the water release to Punjab and Sindh today only faced a shortage of two percent. He said that distribution of water among the provinces is the responsibility of the IRSA.

He pointed out that there was a shortage of water due to less rains in January, February, and March. However, he said that the water situation is now improving in rivers and the provinces will be provided with water as per their share. The House was adjourned to meet again on Wednesday at 11am.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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