ISLAMABAD - The Senate, on Monday, passed four private members bills including the Maintenance and Welfare of Old Parents and Senior Citizens Bill, 2019, the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019, the Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and the Islamabad Pure Food Authority Bill, 2019 as reported by the concerned standing committees.

The bills were piloted by Senators Rana Maqbool Ahmad, Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh, Ghous Muhammad Khan Niazi and Sajjad Hussain Turi respectively in the House.

Rana Maqbool Ahmad said that the bill would ensure protection of rights of senior citizen. He said that the bill was passed by the committee unanimously. Giving the statement of objects and reason of the bill, he said that there had been a steady rise in the population of elderly in Pakistan, because of an appreciable increase in life expectancy. He said with increase in population, the traditional norms and status of the senior citizens had deteriorated. The elders were exposed to emotional neglect and to lack of physical and financial support and they were facing a lot of problems in the absence of adequate social security.

Giving the statement of objects and reasons of the Islamabad Pure Food Authority Bill, Sajjad Hussain Turi said that safe, secure and hygienic food was the basic right of every man and woman and every state was duty-bound to ensure availability of safe, secure and hygienic food to its citizens.

“Safe and hygienic food is the first line of defense against diseases. In Pakistan, this is one of the most regrettable facts that our food lacks hygienic qualities and is adulterated by people who are manufacturing, preparing or selling food items for their illegal gains. It is also one of the most deplorable facts that our existing legal regime is too weak to control food adulteration and make sure the availability of hygienic food to the residents of Islamabad,” the objective of the bill said.

The bill seeks to establish a food authority in the capital and appoint officials in this regard. It also provides a “comprehensive mechanism for regulating and managing food items” as well as punishments for those involved in the business of adulterated and unhygienic food.