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After NA, Senate passes bill reversing PTI’s electoral amendments

27 May, 2022
<p>Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtza Javed Abbasi presents electoral reforms bill in Senate. Screengrab</p>

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtza Javed Abbasi presents electoral reforms bill in Senate. Screengrab

The Senate passed on Friday the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Bill 2021 with a majority, a day after the two bills sailed through the National Assembly.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi presented the electoral reforms bill while Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar moved the NAB bill in the session chaired by Sadiq Sanjrani.

The bill will reverse the PTI-led government’s amendments to the electoral reforms bill - passed in November last year - that permitted the use of electronic voting machines (EVM) in the next general election and granted overseas Pakistanis the right to vote. The NAB bill will curtail the powers of the anti-corruption watchdog.

The bills will now be sent to the president whose approval is needed for them to be enacted.

Opposition protest

Members of the opposition benches raised slogans against the government and the bill as it was . They surround the Senate speaker’s dias and tore the copies of the bill. The scenes were similar to what was witnessed when the PTI-led government passed the bill in the Upper House.

Upon the protest, the chairman asked whether the bill needed to be sent to the relevant committee. Those moving the bill informed the chair that the relevant committee had already approved the bill.

The law minister pointed out that the election commission had raised objections over the use of EVMs due to operational issues.

The opposition benches also assailed the government over the latest rise in prices following an increase in petroleum prices.

Following the ruckus, Chairman Sanjrani adjourned the session for an indefinite period.