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ISLAMABAD: With its time to depart drawing near, the outgoing government on Tuesday got passed another crucial bill – the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023 – along with five other bills from the National Assembly.

The Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, moved the bill after a motion was passed to suspend the rules for immediate consideration of the Official Secrets (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

As usual, a few lawmakers – both on the treasury and opposition benches – were present in the house but the bill was passed after the NA speaker directed to circulate copies of the bill among the members.

The house transacted the government business on private members’ day after passage of the motion while private members’ agenda was also taken up in routine. The bill will come into force at once.

According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, it is imperative to amend the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and make it more effective in view of the changing social milieu to ensure the safety and security of official documents.

Abbasi also moved the Toshakhana (Management and Regulation) Bill, 2023 and the Pakistan Airports Authority Bill, 2023.

Both bills were passed by the house as the Senate has already approved both legislative proposals.

The Toshakhana Management and Regulation Bill 2023 passed by the house today envisaged that the existing and future gifts to be received in Toshakhana will be disposed of through an open auction.

“The proceeds of such an auction shall be kept in a separate account and will be utilized for promoting female primary education in the most backward areas of the country,” it added.

Three private members’ bills passed by the House included the Promotion and Protection of Gandhara Culture Authority Bill, 2023; the Margalla International University Bill, 2023, and the Thar International Institute Bill, 2023. All these bills were sponsored by MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar.

The chair deferred the Kings University Islamabad Bill, 2023 while another private member’s bill – the Babrak Institute of Science, Art and Technology Bill, 2023 - was opposed by the Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Rana Tanveer Hussain, who proposed to refer the bill to the committee.

The deputy speaker who was presiding over the session directed for voting on a motion for consideration of the Akhuwat Institute Kasur Bill, 2023 which was sponsored by MNA Tahira Aurangzeb.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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