ISLAMABAD - Although two dozen bills were in the ‘order of day’ for legislation, the lawmakers in yesterday’s national assembly could only be able to pass just two bills including ‘The National Commission on the status of Women, 2019’ and ‘Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (Amendment), 2019’. In over 50 bills, only three bills could be introduced in the house.

The Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Service Act, 2019 , moved by opposition lawmakers, would facilitate at extending the services of the institute by including the provision of in-service training for the federal and provincial governments’ officials to equip them with knowledge of parliamentary and legislative affairs of the country.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill, says, “The establishment of Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Service aimed at provision of appropriate forum to equip parliamentarians with cutting-edge strategies and tools to perform their representative, legislative and oversight functions effectively and efficiently,”.

The house also passed ‘The National Commission on the Status of Women, 2019’, which is aimed to provide more opportunity to new members so that they may be able to bring a new pragmatic approach to the commission.

Earlier, three bills including ‘National Commission on the Right of Child (Amendment) Bill, 2019’, ‘the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2020’, ‘The Islamabad Capital Territory Child Protection (Amendment), 2020’.

The lawmakers from both sides of aisle carried out discussions for post legislative scrutiny. PML-N’s Khwaja Muhammad Asif proposed to give power to legislators to frame the rules. PPP-P’s Nafeesa Shah also supported the proposed idea. The chair referred the rest of bills to legislative council for deliberation.

Earlier, the house was informed that the government intends to borrow Rs. 1.9 trillion for financing of its fiscal deficit during January to July 2020 which include Rs 0.8 trillion as domestic and Rs 1.1 trillion as external debt. The house was also told the government intends to pay back Rs 12,261 billion as domestic debt and 28.2 billion dollars as external debt during the period between financial year 2019-20 to 2022-23.

In written reply, the house was informed that the total debts and liabilities increased by Rs. 10.33 trillion during financial year 2018-19 which include government debt as well as borrowing of other sectors which is not the liability of the Government of Pakistan such as private sector, banks, foreign exchange liabilities etc.

The house was informed that though total debt and liabilities of the country had exceeded the size of GDP at end June 2019, however, it is important to mention that total public debt stood at 84.8 percent of GDP, thus remaining below the level of 100 percent as observed at start of year 2000.

Furthermore, out of this increase of Rs. 10.33 trillion in total debt and liabilities, total public debt contributed Rs 7.75 trillion during financial year 2018-19.