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Govt may speed up legislation in Senate

ISLAMABAD   –  With the government winning the Chairman and Deputy Chairman Senate slots in a closely-contested election on Friday, the PTI-led coalition government will now be able to go for an expedited timetable to clear the legislation backlog, mainly due to lack of simple majority even in the House.

After the March 3 Senate elections, the PTI has emerged as the single largest party in the upper house of the parliament. Though still not so comfortable in terms of the number of seats secured by the treasury party in the House, yet it can manage passage of the bills now, the treasury and opposition parties’ position in the upper house suggests. The ruling alliance didn’t have numerical strength to make or amend even an ordinary law because a simple majority is required in both the houses of the parliament; Senate and the National Assembly. The government could pass such amendments in the National Assembly where it has majority but lacks it in the Senate. The ruling coalition doesn’t have a two-thirds majority in either house of the parliament and in both kinds of legislation, the opposition parties’ support was a must. However, with the treasury parties coming almost equal to the opposition parties in the upper house in terms of number of the members, the legislation backlog is likely to be cleared at an expedited pace.

According to the official data, around 52 government bills are pending with the Senate at the moment; majority of them received from the National Assembly and few introduced in the Senate itself. These bills were received/introduced in the upper house of the parliament during the period from March 16, 2018 to February 3, 2021. The PTI-led treasury had not even a simple majority in the upper house that caused blockade of the legislation including laws relating to holding of the general elections.   

The bills pending with the upper house of the parliament at the moment include The China Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority Bill, 2021; The Pakistan Single Window Bill, 2021; The Public Private Partnership Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2021; The Emigration (Amendment) Bill 2020; The Control of Narcotics Substances (Second Amendment) Bill 2020; The Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020; The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Anti-Terrorism (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Medical Tribunal Bill, 2019; The Pakistan Medical Commission Bill, 2019; The Surveing and mapping (Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Federal Public Service Commission (Validation of Rules) Bill, 2020; The Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Bill, 2020; The Banks (Nationalization (Amendment) Bill, 2020; The Letters of administration and succession certificate bill, 2020; The Enforcement of women’s property rights bill 2020; The ICT Rights and Response with Disability Bill, 2020; The Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Bill, 2020; The Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Bill 2019; The Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority Bill, 2019; The Foreign Exchange Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Elections (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Elections (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018; The Federal Government Employees Housing Authority Bill, 2019; The Islamabad High Court (Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The Prevention of Electronic Crimes (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The West Pakistan Prohibition of Smoking in Cinema Houses (Repeal) Bill, 2018; The Constitution (Twenty-fifth Amendment) Bill, 2018; The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (Amend. Articles 1,51,59,62,106,155,246 & 247); The Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (Amend. Articles 1,51,59,62,106,155,246 & 247); The Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The West Pakistan Prohibition of Smoking in Cinema Houses (Repeal) Bill,2018; The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Bill, 2018; The Federal Employees Benevolent Fund and Group Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The Establishment of the Federal Bank for Cooperatives and Regulation of Cooperative Banking (Repeal) Bill, 2018; The Islamabad Capital Territory Child Protection Bill, 2018; The Juvenile Justice System Bill, 2018; The Women in Distress and Detention Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The Sir Syed-CASE (Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering) Institute of Technology, Islamabad, Bill 2018; The Sir Syed (Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering) Institute of Technology, Islamabad Bill, 2018; The Supreme Court and High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction to Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Bill, 2018; The Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The Federal Judicial Academy (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The Federal Ombudsman Institutional Reforms (Amendment) Bill, 2018; The Limitation Relating to Civil Revisions Bill, 2018; The Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2018; and The Establishment of Federal Bank for Cooperative and Regulation of Cooperative Banking (Repeal) Bill, 2018. 

An official of the Senate who wished not to be named told The Nation that not necessarily, all the pendency is due to the lack of cooperation from the opposition side. “There may be some other factors also that can cause delay/blockade the passage of a bill,” he said. He, however, hoped that the government would now be able to expedite the legislation process as it has gained sufficient strength in the Senate as well.

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