ISLAMABAD: To give legal cover to the election of 28 legislators of the national and provincial assemblies, who were elected in by-polls held after the passage of the 18th Amendment, the government on Wednesday introduced the 20th Constitutional Amendment bill in the National Assembly.
Minister for Religious Affairs Khursheed Shah introduced the bill, which proposes amendment in Article 219 of the Constitution. The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says, “In judgement of the Supreme Court dated April 25, 2011 in the constitution petition No 32/2009, a direction was given to the federation for constitution of an election commission in accordance with the amended provisions of the constitution and certain observations were also made in the course of hearing of the petition, particularly with reference to by-elections which had been conducted by the chief election commissioner in the interregnum.
In order to give legal cover it has become necessary to amend the constitution for the said purpose.” Another bill, seeking establishment of a national commission for women moved by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Human Rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, could not be passed as after opposition from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the speaker as well as members from the treasury benches decided to defer the voting to develop consensus on the piece of legislation.
Speaking on a point of order, PML-N MNA Raja Asad claimed that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had allocated large amounts in development funds for NA-148 from where his son, Ali Musa Gilani was contesting election on the seat vacated by Shah Mehmood Qureshi.PPP MNA Begum Naseem Chaudhry rebutted Asad’s allegation, saying no extraordinary development funds were being provided to NA-148. She said Qureshi had done nothing for the uplift of his constituency in the last four years.On a point of order, PPP’s Qadir Patel urged the chairman to form a House committee to investigate the reports about a new airline namely, Indus Airline, in which some top PPP leaders were allegedly involved so that the matter could be resolved.
Minority Member Nelson Azeem said a Minority Commission should also be set up to protect the rights of minorities such as the National Commission for Women Rights.Speaking on a point of order, PML-N MNA Abdul Qadir Baloch said there was no representation of Balochistan in federal secretaries, labour attaches and heads of corporations. “The US and India are interfering in the affairs of Balochistan but the government is not concerned… the special parliamentary committee on Karachi and Balochistan has not come up with any solution over the crisis despite passage of more than three months,” he lamented. – PT