ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq on Tuesday prorogued the National Assembly’s 38th session after failing to prevent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers from speaking on the Panama leaks controversy.

The house, due to an abrupt prorogation of the session one day before the advisory committee’s decision, could not discuss the “Quetta Inquiry Commission Report” and the plane crash tragedy.

Like the last three day’s proceedings, the lower house saw an uproar even after the prorogation order, as PTI members kept chanting anti-government slogans.

“I am requesting you for the third time to remain confined to the Quetta commission report. Otherwise, I will prorogue the session. You are violating what was decided,” the speaker reminded PTI lawmaker Asad Umar when he tried to speak on the Panama controversy.

Umar said he would also speak on the Quetta commission report but it would be necessary to respond to treasury members’ diatribes.

“Treasury member spoke about the U-turn of Imran Khan but who will discuss your (Daniyal Aziz) U-turns,” he said.

The chair also gave the floor to PTI parliamentary leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi to remind his party member not to deviate from the actual topic.

Qureshi said the PTI should also be given the floor to respond to the government members. “Against your (speaker’s) ruling, he (Daniyal) spoke on a sub-judice matter, the Panama controversy, at length,” said Qureshi while supporting his party colleague.

The PTI lawmakers also chanted anti-government slogans such as “Jawab do, Jawab do...Chor Chor”.

Regulatory bodies’ control

Pakistan People’s Party parliamentary leader Naveed Qamar, while speaking on the government notification of delegating regulatory bodies under different ministries, termed it a blatant violation of the constitution.

“The government needs to reconsider, as just with a notification this violation was made,” he said, terming it as monarchy style. “We (PPP) also want to take control of these regulatory bodies but after due process and following the laws,” he said.

Minster for Water and Power Khwaja Asif, responding to the PPP lawmaker, said that only the administrative control had been given to the ministries and not the regulatory functions.

The minister said the regulators were earlier under the Cabinet Division which was also under the government control. If the government had any intention to influence the regulators, it could do so through the Cabinet Division, he added.

“This matter was also discussed by the Council of Common Interest (CCI),” he said, adding that the government was in no way influencing the regulators.

Asif said some amendments were proposed in the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority Ordinance Act, which, however, would be done in consultation with all the provinces and through the CCI. He said the consultation process with the provinces would be completed till December 31 and the amendments would be part of the agenda of next CCI meeting.

Electoral reforms report

Finance Minster Ishaq Dar presented the second interim report of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms (PCER) in the house.

The minister said the electoral reforms were being carried out by taking all stakeholders including parliamentarians, civil society, bar councils, bar associations and media into confidence.

“This will help conduct elections in free, fair and transparent manner,” he said, adding that the interim report contains the proposed Draft Election Bill, 2017, consolidating nine different laws and orders.

Dar said the members could submit their recommendations on the proposed bill within 30 days. “The general public can also submit their proposals on the bill during this period,” he said, mentioning that the report will also be laid in the Senate for this purpose.

He said the electoral rules proposed by the committee had also been sent to Election Commission of Pakistan for its input within 30 days.

“There is also a proposal to prepare 27th Amendment Bill and efforts are being made to create consensus on it,” he said. The sub-committee on election reforms will focus on it in the next 30 days.

He said as a result of the first interim report on election reforms, 22nd amendment was adopted and appointments of Chief Election Commissioner and members of the Election Commission were made.

Dar informed the House that some members had expressed reservations regarding 10 percent turnout of women voters and it was decided to take up the matter at subsequent meeting of the PCER.

Earlier, PTI lawmaker Shireen Mazari pointed out quorum at the start of the proceedings, resulting in suspension of proceedings for over one hour.