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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly could not pass eight bills Tuesday due to absence of concerned ministers but six bills were introduced and as many as 23 reports on various bills were also presented in the House.

Amjad Ali Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who was presiding the House on a private members' day showed serious concern over absence of the ministers, saying the ministers must ensure their presence in the House, when there are matters pertaining to legislation.

"There is no cabinet meeting today, so why the ministers are absent from the House? There are important bills, which were supposed to be passed today but due to absence of the concerned minister we cannot take them up," he lamented.

The chair referred the six bills to the concerned standing committees for further deliberations.

A bill, "The Islamabad Capital Territory Food Safety Bill, 2020" moved by Ali Nawaz Awan of the PTI, as passed by the National Assembly and not passed by Senate within 90 days of its laying in the Senate, was referred to a joint sitting for consideration and passage.

The government strongly opposed, "The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021" moved by Mohsin Dawar, an independent MNA, for binding the government to that there should be fixed days for the joint session of the parliament in the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2021.

State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad and parliamentary secretary on law and Justice Malika Bukhari strongly opposed the bill, saying the procedure of calling a joint sitting of parliament is already given in the Articles 70 and 54 of the Constitution.

As many as six bills, which were introduced in the House include,(i)The Constitution Amendment Bill (Amendment in Article 27), (ii) the Trade Organizations Amendment Bill 2021, (iii) The Constitution Amendment Bill (Amendment in Article 59), (iv) The Drug Regulatory Amendment Bill, 2021, (v) Pakistan Medical Commission Amendment Bill, and (vi) Islamabad Capital Territory Destitute and Neglected Children Bill, 2021.

Eight bills which could not be tabled due to absence of the ministers include,(i) The Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2020, (ii)The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill, 2019, (iii)The Post Office Bill, 2020, (iv)The Islamabad Community Integration Bill, 2020, (v)The Limitation (Amendment) Bill, 2020, (vi)The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020, (vii)The Aiwan-e-Zarat Bill, 2021, and (viii) The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

As many as 23 reports of the standing committees on various bills were presented in the House include, The Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The Port Qasim Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The National Institute of Oceanography (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Registration (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2021, The Islamabad Consumer Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2020,The Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Pakistan National Council of the Arts (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, The Pakistan Academy of Letters (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2020,The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2020, etc.

Earlier, the National Assembly was informed that the government has extended a subsidy of Rs30 billion to consumers through the Utility Stores Corporation (USC).

Responding to a calling attention notice, the parliamentary secretary for industries and production, Aliya Hamza Malik, said that prices of essential commodities including ghee, rice, pulses, flour, and sugar remained constant at utility outlets from February 2020 to 27th July 2021.

"We've also taken Utility Stores Corporation towards profitability and its sales have also enhanced significantly," she claimed.

Meanwhile, a parliamentary delegation from Niger attended the proceedings of the house. The minister of state for parliamentary affairs welcomed the delegation.

He said that both Pakistan and Niger would work together for world peace. He appreciated the support and stance of Niger for the cause of Kashmiri people. The members of opposition parties, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) also welcomed the delegation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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