NA rejects bill on compulsory drug test for students

Passes eleven bills, including Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021; refers four to joint sitting

The National Assembly on Wednesday rejected a motion for the introduction of a bill aimed at declaring drug tests of students compulsory because of already existing laws on it.

The bill was sponsored by a PML-N lawmaker Shakila Luqman and was supported by lawmakers belonging to MMAP. However, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbassi said there is already a law regarding sample testing of students while Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) have a joint venture for creating awareness among students about the menace of drugs.

Speaking in the House, PML-N MNA Ch Bashir Ahmed Virk said that there would be financial implications as well as psychological impacts on the students and their parents after the passage of this legislative proposal.

He suggested having massive drug tests on all, including parliamentarians and visitors of parliament, in case this law is approved for students. Later, Deputy Speaker Zahid Durrani put the motion seeking assent for the introduction of the bill in the House. A total of six lawmakers voted in favour of the motion while 50 opposed it. The motion for the introduction of the bill was rejected with a majority vote.

Meanwhile, National Assembly passed nine private members’ and two government bills on Wednesday and referred four bills to the joint sitting of parliament, which were: Pakistan Psychological Council Bill, 2021; the Protection of Parents Bill, 2021; the National Information Technology Board Bill, 2022 and the Pak University of Engineering and Emerging Technology University Bill, 2022. Sponsored by PPPP lawmakers Mahreen Razzaq Bhutto and Syed Agha Rafiullah, the House passed the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council Bill, 2022. It also passed the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Bill, 2022, which was sponsored by Syed Agha Rafiullah.

Also passed was the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which was moved by PML-N MNA Mehnaz Akbar Aziz. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi moved two bills which were considered supplementary agenda in the House. These bills were the National Assembly Secretariat Bill, 2022 and the Diplomatic and Consular Officers (Oath and Fees) (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

The House also passed six other private members’ bills: Islamabad Community Integration Bill, 2020; the Pakistan Courier and Logistics Regulatory Authority Bill, 2019; the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2022; the Specific Relief (Amendment) Bill, 2021; the Limitation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Minister for National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination Abdul Qarid Patel thanked the National Assembly for repealing two “controversial” acts – Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC) Act and the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Act – passed by the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Speaking on a point of order in the National Assembly, he said the repealing of the two “black laws” was a welcome step.

Due to the PMDC Act, over 55 percent of Sindh seats in medical colleges remained vacant. While over 18,000 students preferred getting admission abroad to pursue medical education. The House referred four private members’ bills to the relevant committees for further consideration. These bills were the National University for Security Sciences, Islamabad Bill, 2022; the Pak China Gwadar University, Lahore Bill, 2022; the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the Smart Institute of Sciences and Technology Bill, 2022.

The Lower House of parliament passed a resolution to declare all NA chambers in the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Islamabad Building as a national museum. The resolution was moved by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Sabir Hussain Qaimkhani and said the government should take immediate steps to declare all National Assembly chambers in the SBP Islamabad building as a national museum.

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