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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Controversial legislation

The opposition parties using the platform of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) have decided to give a tough time to the government over its move to get its bills passed in a joint session of parliament likely to be held this week. The alleged controversial bills relate to the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the elections, slashing the powers of the State Bank of Pakistan and amendments to the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO). It has been decided by the opposition to move the Supreme Court of Pakistan, if the government goes ahead with its agenda. A covert hinting by the opposition about the involvement of certain state institutions during the process of legislation is also a cause for concern. It has been claimed by the opposition that the state institutions were “forcing” the government’s allies to vote for the government-proposed controversial bills. On the other hand, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has claimed that all concerns of the coalition partners of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have been addressed by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the joint session of the parliament will be held on November 17 to pass the electoral reforms bill. So far, PTI’s main coalition partner PML-Q leadership has not endorsed this claim. Reports are also emerging about a possible break-up between the PML-Q and PTI and it will be cleared after the outcome of the joint session.

A tricky situation is going on and both ruling party and opposition are playing their cards to prove that their stance is correct. Opposition has termed the bills controversial while the government claims it is a step in right direction to bring electoral reforms in the country. Before any bill is passed, the government needs to take opposition into confidence. It should not be shy of engaging the opposition in talks in the best national interest while the involvement of a third party with any motive in the legislation process needs to be checked and discouraged by all parliamentarians.

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