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Thursday, December 8, 2022
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NA moves to bar candidates from contesting multiple seats in polls

Opp leader says PTI protests intended at undermining foreign dignitary visit

National Assembly on Thursday admitted the bill seeking to amend a clause of Article 223 of the constitution that allows candidates to contest elections on multiple seats.

Moulana Akbar Chitrali presented the bill in the Lower House of parliament, which was accepted with a majority vote. Seeking permission to present the bill, he said the constitution allowed citizens to contest elections from multiple constituencies, however, the candidate had to retain only one seat and the rest had to be relinquished in case he/she wins. “Two crore seventy lakh rupees were spent on each constituency in General Elections of 2018,” Chitrali told the assembly, adding that according to the fresh estimate, Rs46 billion were required for elections on National and provincial seats.

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He claimed that if the value is divided per seat, including all the provincial and National Assembly seats, it would cost Rs100 million. “It is completely illogical that one candidate contests elections on eight different seats and later retains only one, relinquishing the rest,” said Chitrali, adding that it was not just injustice with the voters but also a “great loss to the national kitty”. He requested putting a bar on such people through an amendment in the constitution. This was not opposed by the government and subsequently the speaker referred the bill to the committee concerned for further deliberations.

Meanwhile, the speaker rejected three bills of Muhammad Jamal-ud-Din, who was seeking amendment in Pakistan Institute of Development Economics Act, 2010, National University of Science and Technology Act, 1997 and Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences Ordinance, 2000 while one of his bills was pended due to unavailability of the minister concerned.

The speaker also referred three bills to the committees concerned for further deliberation regarding the establishment of Federal Ziauddin University in Islamabad; the bill to regulate registration and facilitation of non-governmental organizations and trusts in the federal capital; and the bill for establishing infectious disease monitoring and control center in Islamabad.

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Meanwhile, leader of the opposition in the House, Raja Riaz Ahmad said the protests of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were solely meant to disrupt the peaceful environment of the country ahead of a foreign dignitary’s upcoming visit to the country. Speaking on the floor of the House, he pointed out that in the past too PTI leader Imran Khan had opted for protests on the eve of a foreign dignitary’s visit to Pakistan.

“Imran Khan is on the agenda to destabilize the economy with persistent protests, apparently against the foreign investment by brotherly and friendly countries”, he added. He said PTI protests were also causing tension and hardship for masses across the country since they were unable to attend social events, adding it was also a nuisance for the business community.

He urged the federal government to take serious action against the PTI protests, because Imran Khan was disrupting the peaceful atmosphere in the country and added that only a few people were participating in the PTI protests. In his address, Federal Minister Mian Javed Latif said that it was unfortunate that PTI was using provincial governments’ machinery to hold protests. He questioned the PTI leadership what was the reason of their protests and why they were causing hardships for the masses.

Replying to Imran Khan’s statement of many secrets, Javed Latif said: “We have also kept many secrets in our heart just for the sake of country and national interest.” He said that Imran Khan blamed that suspects of Wazirabad incident was being monitored from a control room which was totally fake and baseless. He also lamented as irresponsible the statements of PTI leadership over the Wazirabad incident, stating each day their statements had been changing, just due to their lies and fallacies about the firing incident.

Javed Latif said that Imran Khan was a cricket player, so he also played well with the economy, interior and foreign policies and even with the sacrifices of the martyrs. “We will not support and grant permission to any unconstitutional step in the country,” he added. Also, Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday directed Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi to ensure that the ministries concerned provide answers to the questions asked by the respective members of this august house in time.



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