ISLAMABAD - The treasury senators yesterday turned down an opposition lawmaker's bill, which asked for amending the NAB Ordinance to limit the powers of anti-corruption watchdog over provincial departments.

The National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, moved by PPP Senator Taj Haider, was rejected with the margin of one vote only as 23 votes were cast against it while 22 senators favoured it. The chair had to make a count twice on the request of government, as the government's votes were less than the opposition in the first count.

The bill seeks to delete the provisions extending the jurisdiction of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to the departments of provincial governments from the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 1999.

Interestingly, PTI from the opposition benches supported the bill while National Party (NP) and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP) opposed it from the treasury side.

Before the count was made, Law Minister Zahid Hamid made an offer to the opposition that a parliamentary committee should be formed to review the NAO and after this, a new bill should be introduced in the house in the light of Charter of Democracy (CoD).

He said that an inter-committee headed by PPP MNA Naveed Qamar was already examining such a bill pending with the National Assembly. "The government wants to amend NAB Ordinance as we have made this open offer earlier...but the issue is how it should be amended," he said, adding that the political parties earlier had developed consensus on the National Accountability Commission bill except two or three points. He said that the federal and provincial governments could form separate anti-corruption laws as corruption came under the subject of criminal law.

The Senate also unanimously passed a resolution, moved by PML-Q Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed and PPP Senator Sehar Kamran, condemning recent wave of brutal and extra-judicial killings of Kashmiri Muslims in Indian Held Kashmir with a call to international human rights organisations, the UN, OIC and international community to take notice of these atrocities.

The house separately formed a committee comprising four former chairpersons of the Senate, Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition that has been tasked to pursue case of late 'national hero and hero of humanity' Abdus Sattar Edhi for giving him posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati pointed out that the code of Nobel Peace Prize Committee explained that the prestigious prize could not be awarded posthumously while the chair ignored his remarks.

Chairman Senate formed the committee after the house unanimously passed a resolution expressing deep sorrow on the sad demise of prominent Pakistani philanthropist and social activist who was the founder of Edhi Foundation in Pakistan.

"The House pays tribute to Mr Abdul Sattar Edhi for his selfless services to the humanity particularly to the neglected and marginalized segment of society," says the resolution The house also recommended to commemorate 8th July, the day of Edhi 's death, as Edhi Day. The house also decided that each senator would contribute Rs20,000 from his/her salary to buy four ambulances for donation to Edhi centres in each province. Senators in their remarks also paid tributes to late Edhi and demanded that a case should be pursued internationally to get him awarded posthumous Nobel Peace Prize.

Through the third resolution that was also unanimously passed, the house "acknowledged the great contributions of Amjad Sabri Shaheed as a qawwal, artist, and humanitarian". The resolution said that Sabri brought many laurels to Pakistan as his contributions enriched the culture of the country. "His death is a great loss, not just for his family but also for Pakistan and the entire Muslim world. Amjad Sabri presented the work of his father and uncle in a new light, which helped the younger generation connect to qawwali, something which had not happened earlier," it added.

Sponsored by MQM lawmaker, the house adopted fourth resolution that asked the government to take effective steps to promote religious harmony, unity and brotherhood in the country.