The Senate resumed its session in Islamabad on Monday with Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani in the chair. Two bills were introduced in the Senate on Monday.
These are “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017”, envisaging amendments in Article 63, 177 and 193 and “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017” (Amendment in Article 130).
The bills were moved by Zaheeruddin Babar Awan and Saeed Ghani.
The chair referred the bills to the standing committees concerned.
The Senate today passed “The Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill, 2016”.
The bill moved by Saleem Mandviwalla makes provisions for prohibition of corporal punishment against children.
The House offered Fateha for the departed soul of former Senator Kazim Khan who passed away today.
Minister for Law Zahid Hamid said that any constitutional amendment regarding extension in Military Courts will be finalized after taking into confidence the Upper House of the Parliament.
Responding to the concerns of the members including the Chairman that the Senate has been kept in the dark on the matter, the Minister clarified that the government is aware of its obligations and cannot ignore the Upper House in any manner.
He elaborated that only preliminary meetings have so far been held on the matter and the parliamentary leaders of this House will also be taken on board.
Earlier, the Senators said that the Upper House has always played an important role on important matters including the national security. They said that it is the responsibility of the government to keep the House aware of the developments pertaining to peace and security of the country.
The Senate today passed a resolution condemning the barbaric bomb blast in Parachinar, Kurram Agency, in which more than 22 people died and 63 others injured.
In an another resolution moved by Azam Khan Swati, the House recommended that quota reserved for the provinces of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan in appointments in government departments be implemented through a constitutional amendment.
Through another resolution moved by Kalsoom Parveen, the House recommended that compensation package announced by the government for the heirs of martyrs of terrorist attacks in Civil Hospital and Police Training Centre, Quetta should be paid immediately.
In yet another resolution moved by Chaudhary Tanvir Khan, the House recommended the government should take immediate steps for establishment of a Federal Food Authority to control sale of substandard food items in Islamabad.
Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman told the House that the government is already in the process of establishing Islamabad Food Authority to ensure strict action against those selling substandard items in the capital.
Speaking on a motion, Minister of State for Education Baligh-ur-Rehman told the House that the government continues to fund HEC’s scholarship programmes in order to promote the higher education in the country.
He said as a result of these steps, the output and quality of our research has improved significantly and being acknowledged worldwide. He said that standard of education is improving in the universities where special quality assurance cells have also been established.
The Minister said that the Prime Minister’s Fee Reimbursement has changed the landscape of higher education especially in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
Baligh-ur-Rehman said the government also plans to establish university campuses in every district of the country.
Speaking on another motion moved by Kalsoom Parveen, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb has said that there is a strategy in place to check the broadcast of sectarian material on the media outlets.
She said that there is a comprehensive legal framework in the form PEMRA Act, 2007 to monitor the content of the media. She said that the monitoring system is being improved in PEMRA and over the past two months, the regulator took many suo-moto notices on such matters.
She said that there are also editorial content committees in the media which review the content broadcast on their outlets. She said notices have also been issued to the channels which so far have failed to activate these committees.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that the meeting of the parliamentary leaders on the extension of military courts will be held on Thursday.
Making a statement in the Senate this evening, he assured that the 14 names provided by the Upper House will be invited by the Speaker National Assembly to attend the meeting.
He said that the Upper House is as a respectable as the National Assembly and it cannot be overlooked. He said that any constitutional draft regarding the military courts will require consent of both the Houses.
The Finance Minister said that time demands that all the parties stand together to meet the challenges. He said there is categorical evidence that the terrorist attacks in Lahore and Hayatabad were controlled from the foreign soil.
He said that the agencies of the foreign countries were involved in those heinous crimes. He said that while Pakistan is committed that it will not allow its land used against any other country, time has come that we also ensure that the soil of other country is not used against Pakistan. He said following the attack at Sehwan Sharif, the Prime Minister authorized the armed forces to take action against the terrorists wherever they are.
The house has now been prorogued. —RadioPakistan