Upper House Unanimously adopts 19TH amendment

ISLAMABAD: Upper house of the parliament unanimously approved the 19th amendment bill despite hot political temperature all over the country.

67th Senate Session was held here in parliament house under the chairmanship of Chairman Senate Dr. Farooq H. Naik on Thursday holding the top agenda of 19th amendment’s approval.

As the senate session proceeded, leader of the house Senator Nayyar Hussain Bukhari requested to postpone the question hour session, which was accepted by chairman of the house. Shortly, the chairman of constitutional amendment committee Senator Raza Rabbani tabled the 19th amendment bill before the house.

Before its approval, house participated in the debate where Senator Wasim Sajjad while commenting on this bill said transfer of powers from president to prime minister is a significant achievement. He wished as political leadership is united on political issues will also unite for the outcome of public issues. ANP’s senator Haji Adeel added that aspirations of apex court are fulfilled so as to ensure maximum presentation of judges in judicial commission.

While participating in debate, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat criticised the current political climate and said parties are involved in blame game and shameful statements are being exchanged. Senator Nilofer Bakhtiar was of the view that PML-Q had shown numerous reservations on 18th amendment and we were assured by government that these will be addressed in 19th amendment, but this was not the case.

Senator Mohammad Ali Durrani demanded for 20th amendment and said that new provinces and districts are established all over the world, we must also adopt this practice as time necessitates. He also demanded for the abolishment of LFOs and other black laws made by previous regimes.

Senator S. M. Zafar suggested that education and health portfolios must perform under the supervision of central government and we should start working on 20th amendment in this regard.

Senator Afrasiab Khattak was of the view that ministers being affected by the devolution of portfolios to provinces are erecting hurdles in the way of 18th amendment, government must take notice.

While commenting on the reservation of Hafiz Rasheed, Federal Law Minister Dr. Babar Awan informed that one judge from FATA will also be included in Islamabad High Court whereas Chief Justice IHC will also be included in Judicial Commission as soon as he takes oath. Remaining judges will be appointed afterwards and this whole procedure will be completed in January.

Upon completion of debate Chairman Senate Farooq Naik moved ahead towards the clause wise approval of 19th amendment. Senator Haroon Akhtar while presenting the clause 1 demanded to bring agriculture sector in tax net and said parliamentarians are every now and then criticised for being dwelled in castles without paying tax. He said this ambiguity must be removed whether we pay tax or not.

Senator Raza Rabbani while conflicting his suggestion taken stance all parties are agreed to swell the tax net, but this is up to provincial discretion and they may call for the implementation of agriculture tax.

Senator Hafiz Rasheed presented amendment against clause 7 and demanded that 25 villages of Mehmand Agency should be returned to FATA on the pattern of Laki Marwat and Tank. These villages were given in the jurisdiction of Peshawar and Charsada. Senator Raza Rabbani told in response this is a long process, which we may commenced after the approval of 19th amendment. Later the suggestion of Hafiz Rasheed was rejected by the chairman senate terming as contradictory to law.

Later the 19th amendment was unanimously approved by the upper house whereas 80 members attending the said session voted for this. After its approval, Chairman Senate Farooq H. Naik adjourned the session sine dine

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