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PTI Withdraws 11 Ordinances to Allow Debate

by Staff Report

Opposition withdraws no-confidence motion against National Assembly deputy speaker in rare moment of unity

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government on Friday withdrew all 11 ordinances it had passed last week, seemingly in exchange for the opposition withdrawing a no-confidence motion against National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri.

The opposition had on Nov. 7 filed a no-confidence motion against Suri after he refused to cater opposition concerns following the government passing 11 ordinances in the Lower House of Parliament without following any of the usual parliamentary procedures. Announcing the decision to withdraw the motion, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Khawaja Asif said the government’s reversal would now allow the relevant committees to debate the proposed bills after which the House will pass them.

PTI leader Asad Umar, meanwhile, said the government did not wish to make the speaker and deputy speaker’s role controversial. He said legislation passed after committee approval is inherently more effective.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Swati said all the bills passed, and ordinances tabled, in the National Assembly on Nov. 7 would be re-presented for debate. Of the ordinances passed, he said the one dissolving the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council would be debated on the floor of the House. Similarly, the Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Ordinance 2019; Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Ordinance 2019; Legal Aid and Justice Authority Ordinance 2019; and Superior Courts (Court Dress and Mode of Address) Ordinance 2019 would be withdrawn and resubmitted.

The Benami Transaction (Prohibition) (Amendment) Bill 2019 and The National Accountability (Amendment) Bill 2019, meanwhile, would be sent back to relevant committees prior to being discussed in the National Assembly, he added.

Also on Friday, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari admitted the PTI-led Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government failed in running a comprehensive background check prior to hiring as a consultant a man recently arrested for allegedly raping children. The suspect was found to be employed by the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government against a monthly salary of Rs. 300,000.

Condemning the incident, Mazari appeared to deflect some of the blame, claiming international organizations often referred consultants for projects being overseen by them.

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