Joint opposition announces to challenge the bills that were passed in a joint Parliament sitting including use of EVMs in elections
The government did not have the required number of votes to pass the amendments.
legislation was bulldozed today and NA Speaker Asad Qaiser had “trampled” Parliamentary traditions.
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
The joint opposition in on Wednesday announced to challenge the bills that were passed in a joint Parliament sitting including use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in elections. The joint opposition said that they did not accept the legislation carried out illegally and unconstitutionally.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, speaking to media outside Parliament, said legislation was bulldozed today and NA Speaker Asad Qaiser had “trampled” Parliamentary traditions.
“Legislation cannot take place in such an atmosphere the Opposition’s votes counted were far fewer than their actual numbers,” the PML-N president said.
Shahbaz said the Opposition told the speaker that the government’s votes were not enough to get the bills passed, but the speaker “did not listen to us”.
“We believe three or four additional votes were counted in favour of the government,” he said, adding: “We had more than 200 lawmakers in the house today.” Shehbaz Sharif said, “Today is a black day in parliament’s history.”
He, too, explained that the rules for a joint session stated that the government needed around 222 votes to pass a law and it did not have the required votes today.
Referring to the pandemonium in the joint session, he said the opposition cited references from the law and Constitution to show that the government did not have the required number of votes to pass the amendments.
“But the speaker did not listen to us,” he complained. “They were bent on getting the bill for the use of EVMs and other bills passed.” The opposition leader continued that they had approached the speaker during the session and told him about their reservations and objections.
“I told him that you are being unfair, that you had assured of not toeing the party line, but he did the opposite. He did not listen to us.” Shehbaz said, “Today, we saw a speaker-PTI nexus as we have seen the NAB-Niazi nexus in the past.”
“I kept on asking him to open my microphone,” but to no avail, he added. Reiterating that today was a “black day in parliament’s history”, he added that the opposition had also pointed out that just eight countries in the world had adopted the use of EVMs for elections and nine had even rejected it.
“Laws and rules were trampled today and consequently, we were compelled to boycott the session and come here to tell the nation how they (government) is playing with its fate in parliament.”
Meanwhile on the occasion Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the Opposition would challenge the bills passed in the lower house, as the government “did not have enough votes” to get them passed. “The NRO to Kulbhushan Jadhav, election amendment bill, and all other bills will be challenged at every forum,” Bilawal said, speaking to media outside Parliament.
“The government did not emerge victorious today in the parliament,” Bilawal said. Bilawal said he “tried his best” to draw the attention of the treasury benches and the NA speaker towards the joint sitting’s rules, lamenting that they paid no heed to it.
The PPP chairman explained that according to the law, more than half of the combined votes of a joint sitting were required to get a law passed in the Parliament.
Explaining further, he said the treasury benches needed a minimum of 222 votes to get a bill passed in a joint session, where 342 lawmakers were from the lower and 100 from the upper house.
However, he said that the government did not have enough numbers to get the bills passed.
Bilawal Bhutto lambasted the government for bulldozing amendments and said the opposition would raise a voice against the move on all relevant forums. “The entire nation must be informed that the government did not win but lost during the joint session today,” he said.
Bilawal elaborated there were separate rules for a joint session of parliament and a normal session. “And I tried my best to draw the attention of treasury benches and National Assembly (NA) speaker towards rules pertaining to a joint session in the 1973 Constitution,” he said. According to the rules, he explained, the government required more than half the votes of the combined strength of the two houses of parliament to pass a bill through a joint session.
The PPP chairperson said this meant that if there were 342 members in the NA and 100 in the Senate, the government needed at least 222 votes to get a bill passed through a joint session.
“If the treasury benches are unable to cross this number, no law is passed,” he continued, saying that the opposition’s stance was that no laws were passed today, be it a law for the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) or “giving an NRO to Kulbhushan Jadhav — an Indian spy.
Bilawal said if the government would insist that the new legislations were according to the law, “we will challenge them in the Supreme Court” and contest them at every forum.
“Today, no law has been passed for EVMs, no NRO was given to Kulbhushan Jadhav, because the government did not have the [required] numbers.”
The government, he said, had set aside all parliamentary procedures and norms to show that they had succeeded.
“But it is my appeal to the media, and it is its responsibility [as well], to make the people understand that the government has not been successful.”
Speaking about the ruckus witnessed during the joint session, he said the country was going through a difficult time and the nation was looking to parliament to address and solve its problems.
“It is a pity […] that politicians, when they gathered for the joint session, instead of addressing the difficulties faced by people were adding to their problems,” he commented.
Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal Pakistan Parliamentary Leader in National Assembly Maulana Asad Mehmood slammed the NA speaker and said the manner in which parliamentary proceedings had been conducted was never witnessed before.
“The speaker did not give a chance to the Opposition to speak […] the government ‘managed’ the legislation, and we will challenge it every forum,” Maulana Asad Mehmood said.
Jamaat-e-Islami Parliamentary Leader in Senate Mushtaq Ahmed Khan said that this is a fraud, adding that we condemn giving rights of the ECP to NADRA and administration and theft of future votes through EVM. Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan said that government did not listen us, adding that the opposition had submitted dozens of amendments, adding that on the name of law the biggest lawlessness has been committed by NA speaker and government. He said that the opposition will also show unity in future against the efforts of government to steal the elections, make friendship with Modi and sabotage the freedom struggle of Kashmir.
Awami National Party Parliamentary Leader in National Assembly Amir Haider Khan Hoti said that legislation was carried out for Kulbhushan Jadhev but a Pakistani citizen and an elected MNA Ali Wazir is currently in prison, adding that even NA speaker did not bother to issue his production orders. He said that unfortunately NA speaker has become controversial. He said that the traditions of the parliament have been violated today, adding that legislation was carried out illegally and unconstitutionally and we did not accept this legislation. He said that holding the elections is the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan but ECP itself is not agreed with the EVM. He said opposition has not other way except to approach the court.