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Senate passes NAB Amendment, journalist’s protection bills amid opposition’s protest

Bills related to amendments in NAB, HEC and other laws passed in Senate. (Source: Dawn)

ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Friday approved four bills, including the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Amendment Ordinance 2021 and journalists’ protection bill, despite protests from the opposition lawmakers.

According to details, Higher Education Commission (Amendment) Bill 2021 and the Higher Education Commission (Second Amendment) Bill 2021 were also passed during today’s session.

The Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals bill was introduced by Federal Minister for Information Dr Shireen Mazari. The bill was passed after 35 votes were given in favour of the bill while 29 voted against it, according to Geo News.  

The Opposition protested against the government’s move to include the bill as an additional item in today’s agenda, as Opposition lawmakers shouted “Rubber Stamp Parliament unacceptable”.

Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said that it had taken the ministry one year to formulate the bill. An independent group led by Senator Dilawar Khan also supported the government in its bid to have the bill passed.

The Upper House also approved the NAB Amendment bill, which was presented by Federal Minister for Law Dr Farogh Naseem. “This bill is not being passed for a single person, rather, it is for everyone across the board,” he said.

Agitated over the proceedings, the opposition surrounded the speaker’s dais, chanted slogans and tore up copies of the agenda. The session was later prorogued.

Opposition criticism

Taking to Twitter, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman strongly criticized the government for being unwilling to listen to the opposition.

 

“What was left of parliament in the Senate was destroyed today when the treasury introduced a supplementary agenda at 12.35pm without laying bills and just called in members to bulldoze a NAB bill. From now on the Senate too will not run,” she said.

Talking about the NAB bill, Sherry Rehman said that it was presented after members had left for the Friday prayers.

 

“Because friends in the media are asking: we did not oppose the journalist protection bill but were asking for it to go to a standing committee, same as what we wanted for all bills after the supplementary agenda was produced when members had left for Friday prayers,” she added.

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