ISLAMABAD     -    The National Assembly yesterday saw a rare show of unanimity between the treasury and the opposition as they agreed to run the house according to the established democratic and parliamentary norms.

Senior lawmakers from the two sides held a meeting before the start of Friday’s proceedings and agreed to take reciprocal steps to improve the deteriorating assembly environment.

The government agreed to withdraw the 11 ordinances it had pushed through the house on Nov 7, prompting the opposition to file a no-trust motion against Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, who presided the house that day. The opposition, on the other hand, agreed to withdraw the no-confidence against Suri.

As per the agreement, the government will now properly forward ten bills, passed in form of ordinances, to the relevant standing committees of the assembly.

Later, the bills will be presented in the house for debate, a parliamentary requirement that was ignored by the government on Nov 7, leading to vitiated environment.

The bills that were forced through the assembly on Nov 7 included ‘The Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Bill, 2019’, ‘The Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Bill, 2019’, ‘The Legal Aid and Justice Authority Bill, 2019’,  ‘Superior Courts (Court Dress and Mode of Address) Order (Repeal) Bill 2019’, ‘National Accountability (Amendment) Bill 2019’, ‘Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2019’, ‘ The Whistle Blower Protection’ and Vigilance Commission Bill, 2019’, ‘The Benami Transaction (prohibition) (Amendment Bill, 2019’, ‘The Medical Tribunal Bill, 2019’, ‘The Pakistan Medical Commission Bill, 2019’, and ‘The Naya Pakistan Housing’ and ‘Development Authority Bill, 2019’ without holding mandatory debate from concerned standing committees on it.

At the outset of the assembly proceedings, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said that the government has decided to improve the atmosphere of the parliament.

“We [government] will take care of the respect of parliament in future,” he said while lauding the opposition’s decision to withdraw the no-confidence motion against the deputy speaker.

PML-N’s parliamentary leader Khwaja Muhammad Asif, responding to the government’s gesture, said that the opposition will withdraw the no-confidence motion against Qasim Suri.

The government side, he said, as per the agreement has agreed to refer the controversial bills to the parliamentary committees.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Swati said that the bills passed on Nov 7 will be presented in the parliament again for proper debate.

Another treasury benches member, Asad Umar said although the treasury would have defeated the on-confidence motion against the deputy speaker, the decision of opposition to withdraw the motion was laudable.

He also appreciated the deputy speaker for running the house in a smooth way. The government will now hold proper discussion on it in next session of the national assembly.

PML-N MNA and former speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq also lauded the government’s attitude and its decision to withdraw the ordinances.

MQM-P and GDA urged the government to allow Nawaz Sharif to go abroad.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM-P), despite being an allied partner of the PTI, openly supported PML-N by saying that Nawaz Sharif should be allowed to go abroad for medical treatment.

The party lawmakers also advocated for issuance of the production orders of the arrested assembly members so they could represent their respective constituencies.

Another government coalition partner, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) also supported MQM-P on the matter of Nawaz Sharif. “It was not good to do politics over the health of a former Prime Minister,” they said, opposing the idea to submit an indemnity bond in case of Nawaz Sharif.

Earlier, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said that the PTI government has started the process to ensure implementation of legislation aimed at protecting the rights of children.

About the incidents of child abuse, she said they have decided to develop a sex offender registry.

“An awareness campaign has also been started against child abuse in all the schools of the federal capital,” she said, mentioning that this government has also initiated a child labour survey which will be completed by June next year.

The minister said that the provincial government should have run a background check before hiring a man, who was recently arrested for raping a minor and filming him.