Govt to get NAB, election laws passed from joint parliament sitting

ISLAMABAD – As the president seems unwilling to make an act of Parliament NAB and election laws, the government is set to find another way to get both the bills approved from joint sitting of the Parliament. The coalition government, with majority of votes, has passed both NAB and election laws from both houses of the Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) and a summary has been sent to the President for his assent (signature). The signature of the President on any bill (passed by both the houses) is one of the constitutional obligations to make the bills an ‘act of the Parliament’. “When bills are passed by the National Assembly and the Senate, except for money bill(s), a substantiate copy signed by the Speaker is transmitted to the President to get his assent to make it act of the Parliament,” according to the constitutional obligation. Both the important bills have been sent to President Arif Alvi seeking his assent, around a week ago, but so far he is ostensibly unwilling to approve it. President Arif Alvi, in the last two months, has been reluctant to approve the decisions made by the incumbent government.  As a President, his conduct was discussed in the media when he was not available to administer oath to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. The President, a member of ousted premier Imran Khan’s PTI, went on sick leave hours before the ceremony, so the Chairman Senate administered the oath to the Prime Minister. The President was also not available to administer oaths to federal cabinet members. In another episode, a constitutional battle was seen in the political arena when the President refused to remove Governor Omar Cheema (A member of PTI). Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif advised the President to remove Punjab Governor Omar Cheema under Article 101 of the Constitution. Punjab Governor Omar Cheema, after a long constitutional crisis, was removed. Political pundits believe that this constitutional battle is still not over. The govt has to face hindrance on matter of resignations of PTI MNAs and making any bill act of the Parliament. When contacted, a lawmaker from treasury benches said that the government would prefer to pass both the bills from the upcoming joint sitting of the Parliament. The coalition govt would easily be able to pass NAB and election laws from the joint session, as the President has not given his assent on it. The joint sitting of the Parliament is scheduled to meet on June 7.

The coalition government, with majority of votes last week, passed two important bills including the ‘Election (Amendment) Bill, 2022’ and ‘National Accountability Ordinance, 1999’ (NAO) from both the houses of the Parliament (National Assembly and Senate).

The amendments in the ‘Election (Amendment) Bill 2022’ removed the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the general elections.

Another amendment in Section 103 of the Election Act, 2017, says “the ECP may conduct pilot projects for utilisation of Electronic Voting Machines [EVMs] and biometric verification system in the by-elections.”



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