The National Assembly on Wednesday passed nine private members’ bills and two government bills, while rejecting one bill and referring four more to relevant committees for further discussion. It also referred four bills to the joint session of Parliament scheduled for today (Thursday).
The Lower House passed the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Bill, 2022; the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Bill, 2022; the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the National Assembly Secretariat Bill, 2022; the Diplomatic and Consular Officers (Oath and Fees) (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the Islamabad Community Integration Bill, 2020; the Pakistan Courier and Logistics Regulatory Authority Bill, 2019; the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the Limitation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
The four bills referred to Thursday’s joint session of Parliament are the Pakistan Psychological Council Bill, 2021; the Protection of Parents Bill, 2021; the National Information Technology Board Bill, 2022 and the Pak University of Engineering and Emerging Technology University Bill, 2022. The four private members’ bills referred to the relevant committees for further consideration are the National University for Security Sciences, Islamabad Bill, 2022; the Pak-China Gwadar University, Lahore Bill, 2022; the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Smart Institute of Sciences and Technology Bill, 2022.
The sole rejected bill was one moved by Shakila Luqman of the PMLN, which had sought to make drug tests compulsory for all students of educational institutions in Islamabad. Responding to the bill, the parliamentary affairs minister said a law for sample testing of students was already on the books, and the Higher Education Commission and the Anti-Narcotics Force were operating a joint venture to increase anti-drug awareness among students.
Among the bills passed was the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2022, which seeks to strip Islamabad district administration officials of judicial powers, preventing them from being able to remand or send anyone to jail. The bill has already been passed by the Senate and would now proceed to the president for his assent. The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which seeks to increase punishments for anyone spreading “obscenity” on social media, was also passed, as were the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Bill, 2022, and the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Bill, 2022.
Addressing lawmakers, Health Minister Abdul Qadir Patel thanked them for repealing the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Act and the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Act, which had been passed by the previous government. According to him, the PMDC law had resulted in over 55 percent of Sindh seats in medical colleges remaining vacant, adding that over 18,000 students had preferred getting admission abroad to pursue medical education. Similarly, he said, the PIMS Act had made the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences a private entity.
The government is now set to pass the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022, and the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in a joint session of Parliament scheduled for today. The bills have both already been passed by both the Senate and the National Assembly, but were returned by President Alvi for “reconsideration.” If they are passed in a joint session, the president would have no choice but to assent to their passage into law.