ISLAMABAD -  The PML-N government for the second consecutive day in the National Assembly failed to ensure its numerical strength in the house to get the constitutional amendment bill regarding delimitation of constituencies passed.

The house witnessed very thin presence from both sides of the aisle with the onset of proceedings, as hardly 50 lawmakers were present throughout the proceedings. The constitutional amendment, according to the rules and procedures, can be adopted with the support of total 228 votes in the house.

The government side the other day (Thursday) managed to suspend the rules for passing the bill without deliberation on it in the standing committee concerned, but could not further proceed for lack of required quorum (86 members). The government side, perhaps due to thin presence, did not even take up this agenda item. The constitution (amendment) bill, 2017 was on the order of the day.

The lawmakers from treasury and opposition raised voice against arrest of women relatives of a proscribed outfit leader from Balochistan. They said it was unfair to arrest relatives (especially women) of the banned organisation’s head as it would create a bad impression.

Essa Noori from the Balochistan National Party (BNP) started debate in the house over the arrest of women in Balochistan for having relations with the head of the banned outfit. “It will create an impression that Baloch people are being considered as slaves,” said Noori, and left the house in protest. Other parties, including Pakhtunkhwa Mili Awami Party (PkMAP), also staged a walkout from the house.

ANP’s Haji Ghulam Ahmed Balour said it was unfair to arrest women in Balochistan only on this ground. “Being a relative of anyone is not a sin,” said Bilour. He also criticised the chair for ignoring Awami National Party (ANP) in the house.

JUI-F’s lawmaker Naseema Kishwar and Tehmina Doultana from PML-N also expressed concerns over arrest of women in Balochistan.

Tehmina Doultana said Nawaz Sharif is still prime minister of Pakistan’. “That is chair of Mian Nawaz Sharif and PML-N is his party,” she said, pointing at the chair of leader of the house.

She termed the parliament a ‘drama’. “This is not an assembly at all. This is a drama. If Nawaz Sharif family is victimised, no one else will be spared. Every individual will suffer. We are not afraid of sitting on the opposition benches,” she said.

About PTI chief Imran Khan, the PML-N lawmaker said Imran would never become prime minister of Pakistan.

MQM’s Rashid Godil, on a point of order, said political parties should work for solution to problems. “In order to build consensus over the construction of Kalabagh Dam, there is a need of discussion to resolve the issue,” said Godil.

Dr Darshan from PML-N introduced ‘The Islamabad Healthcare Regulation Bill, 2017’ in the house. The statement of the object and reason of the bill says: “Realising the fact that private health sector is unregulated and the public sector is also providing poor quality of healthcare services, the Islamabad healthcare regulatory authority should regulate both public and private sectors”.

An annual report of the National Commission on the status of women for the year 2015-16 was also presented before the house.

The lower house was also informed on Friday that as many as 1,764 children were abused in the country during six months – from January to June 2017.

Minister for Human Rights Mumtaz Ahmed Tarar in a written reply said that an NGO, Sahil, a partner organisation of the ministry reported that 1,089 cases were registered in the Punjab alone.

In Sindh 490, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 42, Balochistan 76, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir nine, while 58 cases were registered in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The minister pointed out that in the wake of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the subject of minors/children had been transferred to the provinces.

He said that at the federal level, the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 2016 had been enacted, which covered all aspects of child abuse.

The ICT Child Protection Bill, 2017 has been drafted and been approved by the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights, its report will soon be presented to the National Assembly, the minister said.

He mentioned certain measures taken at the provincial level to stop the heinous crime.

The minister said that the Punjab under the Child Protection and Welfare Bureau had established nine Child Protection Units, which provided protection and welfare services to the victims of child abuse.

The Government of Sindh under the Child Protection Authority Act, 2011 has established 12 child protection centres/units, which provide protection and welfare services to the victims of child abuse, the minister said.

The Government of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa under the Child Protection and Welfare Commission has established 13 Child Protection Units, which provide protection and welfare services to the victims of child abuse, he said.

The Balochistan Child Protection Act 2016 has been enacted, the minister said.

The said act provides the protection of children in Balochistan from all forms of violence and physical abuse, he added.

Under this act, the Child Protection Commission is being established, he said.