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Fehmida walks out of NA over non-appointment of Opp leader

Former minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination and MNA Dr Fehmida Mirza on Tuesday staged a walk-out in the National Assembly, saying she won’t return until the leader of the opposition is appointed.

Speaking on a point of order, she highlighted the legitimacy of the House and said there should be a strong opposition in the Parliament, terming it the “beauty” of democracy. She assured the House that her party, Grand Democratic Alliance, would not criticize the government just for the sake of criticism, rather it would support its productive measures.

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Dr Fehmida also stressed the need for giving due water share to Sindh as its people, especially the farming community, are facing great difficulties due to its shortage. Responding to her, Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said the House would soon decide about the leader of opposition, revealing that two to three lawmakers are interested in the slot. The candidate having majority of the lawmakers’ support would be given the slot of leader of opposition, he said.

Lack of quorum on Tuesday led to the adjournment of National Assembly session. It will meet again today (Wednesday) at 11:30 am.

Ghous Bux Mahar of Grand Democratic Alliance had pointed out the lack of quorum. Parliamentarians from different parties on Tuesday presented four bills in the Lower House of parliament, out of which three were adopted and referred to the standing committees concerned and one was rejected through a voice vote.

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Kishwer Zehra of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan moved a bill to further amend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan [The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2022] (Amendment in Article- 51-59). Highlighting objectives of the bill, the mover said the legislation was aimed at giving representation in the parliament to special persons having sound mental health.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi opposed the bill, saying the proposed legislation would cause discrimination in the society besides prompting other segments to make the same demand.

He viewed that political parties in the parliament could give representation to special persons under their reserved seats’ quota. The speaker sought consent of the House through a voice vote that allowed the introduction of the bill and subsequently it was referred to the standing committee concerned.

Shahida Rehmani of the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians moved a bill to further amend the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act, 1997 [The Pakistan Environmental Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2022], which was also sent to the standing committee concerned as it was not opposed by the Minister for Climate Change. The bill mover said there should be a mechanism for proper disposal of electronic waste arriving in Pakistan in the form of imported vehicles, solar panels and other gadgets. She said electronics and chemical waste was causing environmental issues and poses serious threat to human lives and crops.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Noor Alam Khan introduced a bill to further amend the Elections Act, 2017 [The Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022], highlighting the issue of right to vote to dual nationals. He was of the view that only Pakistani nationals should have the right to vote in the general elections. The speaker sent the bill to the Electoral Reforms Committee for deliberation.

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