ISLAMABAD: The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Bill, 2020 and two other bills sailed through the National Assembly amid strong protest and sloganeering from the opposition members on Monday.
The opposition members gathered in front of Speaker’s dais while raising slogans ‘release speaker’, ‘wake-up speaker’ and ‘give relief to people’ as government members okayed the bill moved by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan in the House.
The opposition members threw the torn apart copies of the bill towards speaker’s dais while the House also passed the Public Private Partnership Authority Bill, 2020 and the Pakistan Single Window Bill, 2021.
“We do not now as to how you are running proceedings of the House,” Syed Naveed Qamar of PPP said on a point of order. He said the opposition wanted to raise issues concerning masses including increase in electricity tariff, and price hike, while it was also looking to the chair to announce his ruling on a privilege motion which he reserved on Friday.
The speaker adjourned proceedings till today (Tuesday) before taking up opposition’s calling attention notice on government’s failure to meeting international obligations leading seizure of PIA’s hotels in New York and Paris and not allowing PIA flights to Malaysia.
The government also introduced the National Metrology Institute of Pakistan Bill, 2021 and the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the House. The opposition also registered protest when the adviser on parliamentary affairs was laying the Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Ordinance, 2020. The government also laid the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance, 2020.
The statement of objects and reasons of the CPEC Authority Bill, 2020 say the legislation seeks to accelerate pace of activities relating to the mega project. The authority would be responsible for planning, facilitation, coordinating, monitoring and evaluating to ensure all the activities relating to the project are carried out in a speedy manner.
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Planning and Development approved the CPEC Authority Bill, 2020 by seven to five votes in November, last year. The opposition while opposing then said there was no need to establish a new authority when the Planning Commission channelized $29 billion for the project without creating any CPEC Authority. As per the bill passed by the National Assembly on Monday, the four-year tenure of authority’s chairman is extendable for another four years. Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Secretary for Textile Aliya Hamza Malik while speaking on a point of order sought apology from the PML-N member Maryam Aurengzeb for levelling allegations against the first lady and sister of Prime Minister Imran Khan on floor of the National Assembly. She said they would move a privilege motion against the words used by the opposition member against the ladies who were not present in the House.
Seeing mood of the opposition members, all the three bills were passed in haste. The speaker clubbed all the clauses to go through the legislative business before adjournment of proceedings.