ISLAMABAD - The Senate yesterday rejected PIA bill with the majority of opposition votes, making it clear that it will now be presented in the joint sitting of the parliament where government will have majority.

As the government moved a motion to get passed the controversial Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Corporation (Conversion) Bill, 2015, all the opposition parties in the house disapproved amid voices of 'shame shame'. Consequently, the bill was rejected later.

The bill is aimed at the conversion of the national flag career into a private limited company while the National Assembly has already passed it. But Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat in its report submitted to the house had recommended that the bill might not be passed.

The opposition parties in the both the houses of the parliament have been opposing this bill from the first day, calling it a step towards the privatisation of the airline and putting the future of thousands of its employees at stake.

The bill will now land into the joint sitting of the parliament as under the constitution if one house rejects the bill as passed by other, it would be sent to the joint sitting for final consent. Consequently, the PML-N government will get it passed from the joint sitting because of having large majority in the National Assembly.

Some days back, the country witnessed longest ever strike and protests of the PIA employees against the PIA sell-off plan. Two PIA employees were also killed in Karachi during these protests and the airline suffered loss of billions of rupees.

Separately, PPP’s Farhatullah Babar speaking on his calling attention notice drew the government’s attention on the European Commission's report on the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

The situation of missing persons will worsen if we continue to deny the need for introducing a measure of transparency, oversight and accountability in the working of the nation's security agencies, he said.

"The parliament has done its job and there is a 2013 report of the Human Rights Committee along with draft legislation that was unanimously adopted by the Senate," he said. To begin with, the government should at least come out with its observations and objections on this draft legislation.

He said that yet another step forward in addressing the issue was to review the progress made in the implementation of the Actions in Aid of Civil Power Regulation, 2011 in tribal areas. This 2011 Regulation was given retrospective effect from Feb 2008 to enable the security agencies bring those people into the open for trial in courts who had been in their custody for the past four years.

He asked the human rights minister to inform the house about the number of persons who were in custody of security agencies since 2008 and surfaced in 2011 together with their present status.

Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the European Commission's report had also highlighted the issue of torture in custody. The Anti torture Bill as passed by the Senate is pending with the joint sitting. He asked the government to immediately convene joint session of the parliament to consider that bill as well as the anti-Honour killing Bill.

However, human rights minister Zahid Hamid said that the opposition lawmaker did not point out the positive aspects as identified by the European Commission. "The report appreciated the government for making legislations on children and women rights," he said. He added that he could not tell the exact number of persons tried under Regulation 2011 and the senator should furnish a fresh query.

During the question hour, all the opposition parties staged a protest walkout from the house over the imposition of GIDC (Gas Infrastructure Cess) on all three provinces other than Punjab. ANP Senator Ilyas Balour said that all the three provinces had opposed this levy because the smaller provinces were self-sufficient in gas.

The opposition walked out following the reply of petroleum and natural resources minister that no province was self-sufficient in gas production.