Deputy Speaker National Assembly, Qasim Suri, has blocked a constitution amendment bill presented by an opposition member that had proposed an investigation by a parliamentary committee prior to the arrest of a lawmaker.
The presentation of the bill was disallowed from presentation after it was forcefully opposed by the government.
The bill seeking an amendment to Article 66 of the constitution regarding the “privileges of members” was submitted by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA, Syed Javed Hasnain, and was supported by other opposition parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
The Deputy Speaker had initially approved the introduction of the bill for a voice vote but changed his mind after heeding the resistance from the treasury benches in a move that irked the opposition parties.
Ignoring the outcry from the opposition, Suri suspended the proceedings for evening prayers, leaving the opposition members protesting, following which he disallowed the presentation of the bill even after the resumption of the proceedings.
Arguing in support of his bill, Syed Javed Hasnain stated that the parliament is a supreme institution and that its members must be treated accordingly.
No one could arrest a judge or an employee of the Pakistan Army. On the other hand, the institutions picked up politicians at their will without investigating the charges.
The MNA said that the Constitution of Pakistan had positioned the parliament as the most supreme body in the country and its members represent 220 million Pakistanis, but the assembly members are arrested and humiliated on the pretext of inquiry and investigation.
The bill that did not get the Deputy Speaker’s nod for voting had called for written approvals from the Speaker National Assembly and Senate Chairman before the arrest of a parliamentarian:
The National Assembly Speaker and the Senate Chairman shall refer the matter to a parliamentary committee which shall investigate and inquire into the matter and shall decide whether the handing over of the wanted member, to the said body/ department, is appropriate or not.
It had proposed an equal number of members from the opposition and the government in the National Assembly and Senate committees to investigate the matters of the members of their respective houses.