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ISLAMABAD: The Senate, on Monday, passed The Factories (Amendment) Bill 2021- a private-member bill that seeks to ensure the protection of the workers employed in the industrial sector- while seven new bills were moved in the upper house of the Parliament.

Mohsin Aziz from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is the mover of The Factories (Amendment) Bill 2021 that was presented in the Senate sitting. The bill seeks to amend The Factories Act 1934, calling it "outdated and inadequate" to respond to the plight of the factory workers.

"The Factories Act 1934 is rapidly becoming outdated and inadequate to address the problems of workers in a modern industrial era. The dangers of many industrial processes and environments were unknown at the time of the existing act," according to the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill.

"The laws were designed for a different age with substantially different circumstances- The UN (United Nations) supported International Labour Organisation has also been pushing for an overhaul of the industrial laws all over the world to match the new and challenging realities of modern industrial age.

It is a time when number of countries are restructuring and redefining their industrial framework-Pakistan is in dire need of attracting foreign investments and incremental reforms in industrial and legal framework will not only significantly raise the country's profile in this increasingly globalised and industrialised world but also provide relief to hardworking industrial workers," the statement says, adding that the bill seeks to achieve the above said purposes.

In addition, seven new bills were moved in the House by different senators. These bills were: The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) (Amendment) Bill 2021, The State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2021, The Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties (Amendment) Bill 2021, The Protection of Journalist Bill 2021, The Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2021 and The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2021 (Amendment of Article 37).

The House also passed four resolutions moved by different senators. The first resolution recommended that the government take immediate measures to reduce the level of air pollution caused by transport, energy and industrial sectors.

The second resolution paid profound homage to Wing Commander Nauman Akram who sacrificed his life to save the lives of residents of Islamabad and embraced martyrdom on March 11 last year, during rehearsal for the Pakistan Day Parade, in his F-16 aircraft.

The third resolution acknowledged the exemplary role of late Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan as the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme. The fourth resolution recommended that recitation of the Holy Quran with Urdu translation and Darood Sharif be recited at the commencement of every official public meeting.

Later, speaking on the floor of the House, Leader of the Opposition in Senate Yousaf Raza Gillani came down hard on treasury benches for government's plan to summon joint session of the Parliament to get the legislation on electoral reforms done, despite earlier postponing the joint session.

The opposition, he said, recently received a letter from Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser wherein he invited the opposition for consultations over electoral reforms.

"The opposition responded to that letter positively and expressed willingness for consultations over electoral reforms, in the wider national interest. But then, we heard this news that government was all set to summon the joint session of the Parliament that was earlier postponed," he said.

"This kind of non-serious attitude and unstable approach on such a crucial matter is simply flabbergasting. Things will not work if government keeps behaving in such an irresponsible and immature way," he said.

Leader of the House in Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem said, "If you want to keep the democracy and the system functional, then listen to what we say."

He criticised the opposition for talking about judiciary. "I get extremely surprised when I hear the lectures over judiciary from these people. They are the ones who used to dictate verdicts of their choice to the courts," he said.

Meanwhile, opposition senators including former deputy chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwalla, Sherry Rehman and Farooq Naek from PPP among others have written a letter to Senate finance committee seeking an investigation into National Accountability Bureau's (NAB's) claims of making recoveries of over 821 billion rupees.

The House would meet again today (Tuesday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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