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ISLAMABAD: As many as 21 new private bills were put before the upper house of the Parliament on Monday, of which, 15 were referred to the relevant standing committees, five were deferred and one bill was rejected.

In the Senate session presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, only one bill; Pakistan Future Council Bill 2023, moved by Sania Nishtar from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was handed rejection by the house by majority vote.

Speaking on the floor of the house, Nishtar said the country needed a body for oversight over the functioning of government entities. She said the developed countries had such councils while there was a need to establish a council in Pakistan. “The Pakistan Future Council Bill 2023 aims at serving this purpose,” she said.

The government side did not oppose the bill after which Sanjrani allowed the PTI senator to present the bill. After been presented, the bill was opposed by several senators. The chair put up the bill for voice vote, in which, the bill was rejected with 25 votes against it and 16 in its favour.

Senators including Mushahid Hussain Sayed from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Abdul Ghafoor Haideri from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) and Sherry Rehman from Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) were of the view that in the presence of the different committees of the Parliament including standing committees of Senate and National Assembly, and other special committees, the creation of any other body was not required. The creation of a council for oversight would undermine parliamentary oversight, they said.

Meanwhile, the 15 bills that were referred to the relevant standing committees, were: The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Bill 2023, Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill 2023, Cutting of Trees (Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill 2023, Imports and Exports (Control) (Amendment) Bill 2023, Injured Persons (Medical Aid) (Amendment) Bill 2023, Islamabad Capital Territory Charities Registration, Regulation and Facilitation (Amendment) Bill 2023, Islamabad Capital Territory Protection of Breast-Feeding and Child Nutrition Bill 2023, Limited Liability Partnership (Amendment) Bill 2023, National Database and Registration Authority (Amendment) Bill 2023, National Security Council (Amendment) Bill 2023, Pakistan Ehsaas Targeted Subsidies (Riayat) Programme Bill 2023, Pakistan Emergency Treatment Coverage Programme Bill 2023, Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2023, Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2023 and Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill 2023.

The five deferred bills were: Factories (Amendment) Bill 2023, Guardians and Wards (Amendment) Bill 2023, Pakistan Names and Emblems (Prevention of Unauthorised Use) (Amendment) Bill 2023, Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking (Amendment) Bill 2023 and Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Bill 2023. The house was adjourned till today (Tuesday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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