ISLAMABAD - The Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) MNAs in Tuesday’s National Assembly proceedings came down hard on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for dropping “Fata reform” from the agenda of the cabinet meeting.

The lawmakers from the Fata, on the last day of the 39th NA session, also failed to fully express their emotions on the same issue when the chair had to abruptly prorogued the house due to lack of quorum.

The federal cabinet in the meeting under the chairmanship of Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday did not discussed Fata reforms.

The Fata reforms were discussed and debated at the National Assembly in the previous session.

Shah G Gul Afridi, on a point of order, said that people from Fata had been facing discrimination.

“Despite all the discrimination, we have not raised slogans against Pakistan,” he said, expressing annoyance over dropping Fata reforms from cabinet meeting.

Another lawmaker from the Fata Shahabuddin in a protest taped his lips with a black ribbon and also walked out from the proceedings.

Other Fata members were also eager to raise their voice when deputy speaker abruptly prorogued the house due to lack of quorum.

PTI’ Junaid Akbar, ostensibly due to not getting floor, pointed out quorum when no more than 60 members were present in the house.

Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi also criticised the PTI’s member for pointing out quorum.

“It was private member day. Agenda of opposition was being discussed and you [Junaid Akbar] pointed out quorum,” the deputy speaker remarked.

Aijaz Jhakrani from the PPP also pointed out empty front rows of treasury benches. He further said that the prime minister did not bother to enter the house.

Later, opposition parties except MQM staged walkout from the proceedings of the house.

Ghulam Sarwar from the PTI, on a point of order, pointed out that the interior minister had illegally been using government resources. “Action should be taken on it,” he demanded.

Opposition MNA Shazia Marri, on a resolution about improving PTV’s performance, said there was a need to create proper atmosphere for women employees. Women harassment should not be ignored, she said.

Winding up debate, Parliamentary Secretary for Information and Broadcasting Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha has said that a number of steps have been taken to improve the performance of Pakistan Television.

The house throughout the proceedings saw thin presence on both sides of the aisle.

Front rows of treasury benches remained empty for most of the session.

COMPULSORY THALASSEMIA TEST BILL PASSED

The National Assembly yesterday passed ‘The Compulsory Blood Test of Relatives of ‘Thalassemia Patients Bill, 2016’ with an aim to stop further spread of this disease.

The purpose of the legislation was to take appropriate measures to stop further spread of this disease and arrange proper care of thee patients who are suffering from it.

The clauses of the bill say, “It is compulsory for those blood relatives of thalassemia patients who are getting married to get a pre–marital blood screening to ensure that they are not carrying the disease.” “Ante-natal tests of pregnant women who are known carriers and whose partners are also carriers are to undergo test,” it says, adding all NGOs running the centres dealing with thalassemia will ensure that they spend 10 percent of their budget on developing the test facility.

“For pre-marital testing both the partners are to have their blood indices done if they have blood reports showing anaemia. Their haemoglobin electrophoresis should be undertaken to ensure that they are not carrying the trait,” it says.

“All clinics, hospitals and the centres handling and treating thalassemia patients will ensure that blood relatives of these children are all screened for the disease. “This test is to be made compulsory for siblings, first cousins and uncles and aunts who are blood relatives,” the law said.

According to the penalty, in case an NGO clinic or hospital fails to carry out the necessary screening, it will be charged Rs 100,000 for negligence.

“In case a person to be tested refuses to undergo the test, he can be fined and if the charge is proven, a penalty of Rs 100,000 is to be imposed on him,” the law said.

The bill says, “It will be compulsory for clinics, hospitals and centres to provide a detailed genetic counselling with information on the pattern of the disease and trait transmission.”

According to the statement of objects of the bill, thalassemia is a dangerous disease, so appropriate steps must be taken to control it. A recent study in thalassemia suggests that due to consanguineous marriages, the genes of the disease are trapped within the family. The families with a history of thalassemia have a high carrier rate of 30 percent, says the bill.

The house passed the bill moved by PPP MNA Azra Fazal Pechuho after a thorough deliberation on it at meetings of relevant standing committees for around two years. This bill would be implemented in the federal capital after becoming act of the parliament.

The house also passed ‘National Commission on the Status of Women (Amendment) Bill’, moved by Dr Nikhat Shakeel Khan.

Earlier, two private members bills, Compulsory Sewage Water Management and Reprocessing Bill, 2017, and Federal Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2017, were also introduced in the house.