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Print Print 2021-11-11

A ‘fearful’ govt postpones joint sitting of parliament

  • Fawad says electoral reform is a matter of the future of the country and the government is trying in “good faith” to reach a consensus on these matters
Published November 11, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The government, on Wednesday, postponed the joint sitting of the parliament in apparent fear of losing support of its coalition partners required for the passage of controversial bills, including the legislation with regard to use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).

The announcement of the postponement of the joint sitting, which was scheduled for November 11 (today), was made by Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry through tweets, who stated the joint sitting of the two houses is being postponed with a view to bring a “consensus” bill with regard to the electoral reforms in consultation with the opposition.

Chaudhry said that electoral reform is a matter of the future of the country and the government is trying in “good faith” to reach a consensus on these matters, adding that National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has been asked to contact the opposition once again to bring a “unanimous” electoral reform bill.

“We hope that the opposition will seriously consider these important reforms and we will be able to adopt a common strategy for the future of Pakistan. However, if this does not happen then we cannot take back step from the reforms,” he maintained.

Pakistan has failed to conduct free, fair elections in past 50 years: PM Imran

In a series of tweets, Asad Qaiser said that he had a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in which important matters pertaining to the joint sitting were discussed.

“On the instructions of the prime minister, I would soon contact the opposition parties about the important bills being presented in the joint sitting, including the legislation with regard to the electoral reforms, so that their reservations are addressed and a consensus is evolved on issues of national importance,” the speaker tweeted.

He said that the government wants to bring all the opposition parties together on the legislation process and every possible effort would be made in this regard. “I hope the opposition parties would support the government in carrying forward the [electoral] reforms for the betterment of the country,” the speaker said, adding that a joint sitting of the parliament would be re-convened soon.

The joint-sitting of Parliament was summoned for passage of various bills including the controversial, Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Elections (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021 for introducing EVMs in the next general election, as well as, giving the right of online voting to overseas Pakistanis – all these bills were referred to the joint sitting, after the government failed to get these passed from the Senate where the opposition is enjoying a majority over the government.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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