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PPP fails to present bill on dual nationality in Senate

23 November, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The ruling alliance led by the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) faced humiliation in the Upper House on Thursday when it remained unable to present the 23rd Amendment bill regarding dual nationality owing to absence of the required two-thirds majority in the House.

The dual nationality 23rd Amendment bill 2012 was the sole item on the order of the day besides the question hour, and the ruling party seemed making untiring efforts to gather its members and allied parties to meet the required strength for smooth sailing of this bill.

Although the ruling alliance has the required majority of 69 members out of 104 total strength of the Senate, it appeared a daunting task for it to make possible the presence of its members on Thursday when this key legislation was deferred on the request of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Farooq H Naek.

"The item is deferred," Senate Chairman Syed Nayyer Bokhari ruled by proroguing the session of the Senate for an indefinite period by putting on hold the bill for the next session. Many legislators have been stripped of their membership of parliament for holding dual nationality on orders of the Supreme Court.

In order to gather the required members, the break for Maghrib prayers was also prolonged while usually it lasts around 15-20 minutes for re-assembling of the Upper House. However, on Thursday it spanned over an hour to give more time to the treasury to gather the required number in the House.

Law Minister Farooq Naek was compelled to request for deferment of the report of standing committee of the House on the bill, to be presented before moving towards passage of the bill.

Moreover, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated criminal proceedings against 395 government officials for effective recovery of the looted money as it recovered Rs 1189.2 million from federal and provincial government officers and officials during 2008 to 2011.

The law minister told the Senate in a written reply that during the said period, cases of 395 alleged accused were processed and registered at the stage of investigation. Region-wise detail of the accused shows out of 395, 52 were from Punjab, 55 from Sindh, 159 from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 81 from Balochistan and 48 from Rawalpindi region. The major allegations against these persons include corruption and corrupt practices, misuse of authority, cheating of public at large, bank default and misappropriation of public money entrusted to them.

The minister for postal services told the House 36 post office officials of Rawalpindi region had been punished on complaints received against them in connection with the delivery of amount from the Benazir Income Support Programme. Out of 36, eight were dismissed from service, 10 were terminated and two retired compulsory. Similar complaints were also under process against three officials, he added.

The minister for communications told the House estimated rehabilitation cost of the National Highway Authority network frequently used by overloaded vehicles of NATO/ISAF over the years is approximately $1.4 billion. He further said the USAID had agreed to finance rehabilitation of Peshawar-Torkham Road (N-5) at $67 million. Negotiations with the USAID are underway for financing improvement and rehabilitation of Kalat-Quetta-Chaman (N-25) Road, he added.


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