ISLAMABAD - The PML-N government which has a two-thirds majority in the Nation Assembly managed adoption of 126 bills in the last three and a half years whereas the combined opposition got a pittance in the legislative business and could get only two bills passed in the same period.

The ratio reflects the seriousness of the government to provide a level-playing field to the opposition to run the legislative business. The opposition parties introduced 158 bills of which only two were passed.

Interestingly, there was a marked difference in the time period for introduction and passage of the opposition bills than the government bills.

‘The National Commission on the Status of Women (Amendment), 2016’ moved by MQM MNAs, Nikhat Shakeel, Sheikh Salahuddin and Sultana Jafri, was the first opposition members’ bill passed in the current NA sitting. The bill was passed after a gap of 126 days of introduction.

The opposition lawmakers, in the past, accused the government on the floor of the house of stealing their ideas on some bills before introducing the same with amendments.

The second opposition bill was ‘The Compulsory Blood Test of Relatives of Thalassemia Patient Bill, 2016’ ’moved by Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho. The time period between the introduction and passage of the bill was 854 days, the figures compiled by Fafen reveal.

Normally, a committee takes 172 days to report on a government bill and 419 days to report on a private member’s bill. In the case of government bills, the shortest period between introduction and committee reports was two days while the longest was 590 days.

Talking to The Nation, opposition lawmakers strongly criticised the government for ‘bulldozing’ their bills.

PPP MNA Shazia Marri said legislation was the prime responsibility of parliamentarians, but the government seemed not interested in appreciating that aspect of democracy. “In fact, it continues to hinder opposition’s constructive and pro-people legislations.”

“Recently, we got a private bill on ‘Thalassemia’ passed by the National Assembly after a struggle of three years. I have submitted a bill regarding prohibition of employment of children in ICT, but have a little hope given the government’s attitude towards legislation,” said Marri. She also said they will continue introducing bills in the parliament.

PTI lawmaker Shireen Mazari also criticised the government for putting hurdles in the passage of their bills and other legislative business. “My bill about rectifying international treaties from parliament is not being passed. I introduced it in 2013, but it has still not been passed,” said Mazari. “The government should encourage opposition for their legislative business,” she said.

MQM lawmaker Ali Raza Abidi accused the government of stealing the ideas of opposition and presenting them with their own version. “MQM lawmaker Kishwar Zehra faced the same situation as she introduced three bills, but the government stole her ideas and introduced its own bills,” Abidi alleged.

The bills introduced by the opposition in over three and a half years include: “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016’ (Amendment of Article 92)’, ‘The Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration (Amendment) Bill, 2016’, ‘The National Conflict of Interest Bill, 2016’, ‘The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Amendment of Article 11)’, ‘The Factories (Amendment) Bill, 2016’, ‘The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2016’ (Amendment of Article 11)’, ‘The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2016’, ‘The Dowry and Bridal Gifts (Restriction) (Amendment) Bill,’ 2016 etc.

The government side bills include ‘The Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal (Amendment) Bill, 2015’, ‘The Islamabad Subordinate Judiciary Service Tribunal Bill, 2015’, ‘The Federal Judicial Academy (Amendment) Bill, 2015’ ‘The Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2015’, ‘The Income Tax (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015’, ‘The Income Tax (Third Amendment) Bill, 2016’, ‘The Banks (Nationalisation) (Amendment)Bill, 2015’, ‘The Equity Participation Fund (Repeal) Bill,’ ‘The Offences in Respect of Banks (Special Courts) (Amendment) Bill,’ ‘The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill,’ ‘The Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (Conversion) Bill, 2015’, ‘The Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill, 2015’, ‘The Foreign Exchange Regulation (Amendment) Bill,’ ‘The Foreigners (Amendment) Bill, 2016,’ ‘The Patents (Amendment) Bill, 2016,’ ‘The State Life Insurance Corporation (Re-organization and Conversion) Bill, 2016’, ‘The Credit Bureaus (Amendment) Bill, 2016,’ ‘The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (Amendment)Bill, 2016,’ ‘The Electoral Rolls (Amendment) Bill, 2015,’ ‘The Delimitation of Constituencies (Amendment) Bill, 2015,’ ‘The Constitution (Twenty-second Amendment) Bill, 2016’, ‘The National Database and Registration Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2016,’ ‘The Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, 2016,’ The Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2015,’ ‘The Banks (Nationalisation) (Amendment) Bill, 2016,’ The Deposit Protection Corporation Bill, 2016,’ and others.

The data, compiled by an independent entity, says that around 11 government bills were passed without awaiting recommendations of the committee. All of these bills originated as ordinances and were related to economy, security, energy and elections.