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The Upper House of the Parliament on Tuesday unanimously passed 'The Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Bill, 2019,' for the purposes of planning, development, construction and management of real estate development schemes and projects, including housing, and to pursue philanthropic and other objectives on profit and non-profit bases.
The bill landed in the Senate on December 13 last, after being passed by the National Assembly on December 10, 2019, and was referred to the relevant Senate standing committee which also passed it .
Following its passage from both the houses, President Arif Alvi is expected to sign into law the bill soon.
During Senate proceedings on Tuesday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Swati presented 'The Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Bill, 2019' on behalf of Housing and Works Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema which was unanimously passed by the house.
Ahead of the voting on the bill, Azam Swati said that Javed Abbasi from PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) had some concerns about the bill and wanted to introduce some amendments to the bill. "But I met him and we reached agreement that this bill would be allowed to be passed and (in return) we would support his (Abbasi's) bill seeking amendments in the constitution (not regarding amendments in Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Bill, 2019) that would be presented next week."
Abbasi taking the floor said, "Swati and I had a meeting regarding the government bill. I am ready to support the bill if the parliamentary affairs minister gives me the assurance that the treasury benches would support amendments I want to bring in Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Bill, 2019."
Swati assured that the treasury benches would support Abbasi's proposed amendments in the bill following which 'The Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Bill, 2019' had a smooth sailing in the Senate.
Mushtaq Ahmed from Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) seconded Abbasi's viewpoint saying, "There are some very serious anomalies in this bill which should be addressed through amendments."
The bill envisages to "identify immovable properties and projects suitable for the development of schemes; recommend to the federal government to provide or procure immovable property or a project through any means permissible under law prescribe transparent criteria and procedure for registration, membership, possession, transfer and cancellation of immovable property in a scheme; facilitate the low income segment for availing housing; prescribe transparent criteria and procedure for registration, membership, possession, transfer and cancellation of immovable property in a scheme."
Meanwhile, seven new government bills were moved in Senate which were referred to the relevant standing committees by Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, who was presiding over the Senate session.
These bills are; 'The Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Bill, 2020, The ICT Rights of Persons with Disability Bill, 2020, The Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Bill, 2020, The Legal Aid and Justice Authority Bill, 2020, The Enforcement of Women's Property Rights Bill, 2020, The Superior Courts (Court Dress and Mode of Address) Order (Repeal) Bill, 2020 and The Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2019.'
Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari presented 'The Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Bill, 2020.' She requested the House that the bill be passed forthwith and should not be referred to the relevant standing committee due to the reason that the bill remained under the review of National Assembly's Standing Committee on Human Rights headed by Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for eight months before being passed by the committee.
The NA has also passed the bill. However, on the insistence of opposition senators, the chairman Senate referred the bill to Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights.
The Zainab Alert, Response and Recovery Act, 2019 seeks speedy response for recovery of missing, abducted, abused or kidnapped children in the premises of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
Named after Zainab, a seven-year old child from Kasur who was abducted, raped and murdered in January 20I8, the bill seeks to "enact special laws to provide a speedy system of alerts, responses, recoveries, investigations, trials and rehabilitation to prevent and curb criminal activities against the children in ICT; and - to ensure harmonization and cohesion in the workings of the new agencies and institutions established for the protection of children and already existing mechanisms within this field." The house would meet again on Friday at 10:30am.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020