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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly, Friday, passed two bills, “The Anti-Dumping Duties (Amendment) Bill, 2022”, to exempt Chinese companies from payment of anti-dumping duty for products to use in the construction of the New Gwadar International Airport project, and “The Railways (Amendment) Bill, 2022”, to replace the “punishment of death” with “imprisonment for life” in the offences of wrecking or attempting to wreck a train and maliciously hurting or attempting to hurt persons travelling by railway.

The government also introduced four bills, “The Trade Dispute Resolution Bill, 2022”, “The Securities and Futures Market Bill, 2022”, “The Naturalization (Amendment) Bill, 2022”, and “The Pakistan Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2022”, in the Lower House of the Parliament.

According to objects and reasons of “The Anti-Dumping Duties (Amendment) Bill, 2022”,the National Tariff Commission (NTC) could not issue the request Certificate of Exemption as there is no provision in the Anti-Dumping Duties Act, 2015, which allows exemption of anti-dumping duty in such cases. The issue was discussed in the 4th Meeting of the Pak-China Relations Steering Committee held on December 15, 2021. The committee directed the Ministry of Commerce and the NTC to amend the law to facilitate grant-in-aid projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (CPEC).

In order to facilitate grant-in-aid projects, a legal mechanism is necessary to put in place. Therefore, the draft of “Anti-Dumping Duties Act, 2015” to exempt anti-dumping duty on product import on a grant-in-aid basis “is being placed before the Parliament for its consideration/ approval.

According to objects and reasons of “The Railways (Amendment) Bill, 2022”, the death penalty is used in a disproportionate manner under the Railways Act that violates the fundamental right to life which happens to be the most basic of human right. The risk of executing innocent people exists and the arbitrary application of the death penalty can never be ruled out under the said law.

In the bill, fine as punishment was increased from 20,000 rupees to one million rupees.

However, MNA Aliya Kamran from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) on reserved seats for women from Balochistan has written a dissenting note which is attached with the bill described as “maliciously hurting or attempting to do so while travelling by rail is a sabotage activity as such is a heinous offence amount to be terrorism also; hence, required exemplary punishment but here a suggestion is being made for reduction in sentence which is not understandable and as such opposed.”

According to objects and reasons of “The Trade Dispute Resolution Bill, 2022” as introduced in the House, Trade Dispute Resolution Organization (TDRO) has been established as an attached department of Ministry of Commerce. It is platform which helps to prevent the detrimental effects of unresolved international trade conflicts and to mitigate the imbalances between stronger and weaker players by having their disputes settled on the basis of rules. In order to regulate the functions of TDRO, legal mechanism is necessary to put in place.

The objective of “The Securities and Futures Market Bill, 2022”, is to cater to the fast-changing dynamics of capital and future market, provide enabling environment for growth and ease of doing business, support innovation thereby contributing significantly towards market development.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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