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ISLAMABAD: The joint sitting of the Parliament Wednesday passed as many as 33 bills including “the Elections Second Amendment Bill, 2021” granting the right of vote to overseas Pakistanis and providing for use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for casting votes in the elections amid opposition protest.

The joint-sitting of the parliament passed, “the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration Bill, 2021,” to give Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav right to appeal against conviction, “The Gwadar Port Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021” and “the SBP Banking Services Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

The Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs, Babar Awan, moved the Elections Second Amendment Bill, 2021, in the joint sitting of the parliament for passage.

The house passed the bill with a majority amid strong protest of the opposition.

The House rejected all amendments presented by the opposition in various bills, while it accepted all amendments to incorporate in the different bills.

The house accepted amendments presented by Babar Awan to incorporate in the Elections Second Amendment Bill, 2021.

Joint session of Parliament passes bill on use of EVMs

According to an amendment, which was incorporated in clause 2 of the Elections Second Amendment Bill, 2021, “notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or Rules made thereunder, the Commission shall, with the technical assistance of National Database Registration Authority (NADRA), any other authority or agency, enable oversees Pakistanis, in prescribed manner, subject to secrecy and security, exercise their right to vote during general elections in Pakistan.”

The bill also authorises the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to procure EVMs for casting of votes in general elections.

According to another amendment in clause 3 of the bill, “not withstanding anything contained in this Act or rules made thereunder, the commission shall, with the technical assistance of any authority or agency, procure and use in prescribed manner, subject to secrecy and security, stand-alone Electronic Voting machine (EVMs) in general elections in Pakistan.”

Minster for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem tabled, “the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration Bill, 2021”, to provide for the right of review and reconsideration in the matter of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav to give legal effect to the judgment of the International Court of Justice.

The Indian spy had been sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan back in April 2017.

Commander Jadhav was a RAW operative who facilitated numerous acts of terrorism in Pakistan, which resulted in the killings of countless innocent citizens of Pakistan.

The PTI government also accepted the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) bill for established of university in Hyderabad in return for their support on the bill relating to EVMs. For this purpose, the joint-house of the Parliament passed The Hyderabad Institute for Technical and Management Sciences Bill, 2021,

Other bills that were passed by the joint sitting included: The Islamabad Capital Territory Charities Registration, Regulation and Facilitation Bill, 2021; The National College of Arts Institute Bill, 2021; The Muslim Family Laws Amendment (Amendments in Section 4 and 7), Bill, 2021; The Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Bill, 2021; Hyderabad Institute for Technical and Management Sciences Bill; Islamabad Rent Restriction Amendment Bill; The Criminal Law Amendment Bill; The Corporate Restructuring Companies Amendment bill; The Financial Institutions Secured Transactions Amendment Bill; the Federal Public Service Commission (Validation of Rules) Bill; The University of Islamabad Bill; The Loans for Agricultural, Commercial and Industrial Purposes Amendment Bill; The Companies Amendment Bill; The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission Amendment Bill; Pakistan Academy of Letters Amendment Bill; The Port Qasim Authority Amendment Bill; Pakistan National Shipping Corporation Amendment Bill; Gwadar Port Authority Amendment Bill; The Maritime Security Agency Amendment Bill; The Emigration Amendment Bill, and The Privatization Commission Amendment Bill.

The joint sitting of the Parliament also passed, “The Covid-19 (Prevention of Hoarding) Bill 2021”, “The Al-Karam International Institute Bill, 2021”,“The Islamabad Capital Territory Authority Food Safety Bill 2021”, “The Unani, Ayurvedic and Homoeopathic Practitioners Act”, “The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill” and “The Provincial Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill”, “The Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Bill, 2021” etc.

EVM only solution, insists PM

On the points of PPP leader Taj Haider regarding census 2017, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said the PTI government is going ahead with a fresh census, which will be based on best international practices by using the latest technology.

He was confident that the results of this census being carried out after five years will be acceptable to all.

The minister expressed his surprise over the objections raised by the PPP on census results 2017.

He said that it was the responsibility of the provincial governments to conduct the exercise, reminding that it was the PPP and the PML-N that were in governments in Sindh and the Center.

He, however, said that the government rejects the PPP reference against the Census 2017.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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