Govt lays revolutionary bills in NA; expects opposition’s positive role for their passage: PM

Business Recorder

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the government had introduced revolutionary bills in the National Assembly on Thursday proposing reforms in civil procedures, whistleblower protection commission and women property rights to serve the fundamental needs of the common man.
The prime minister, in an interaction with senior newsmen here, said the police and katchery had been the main concern of the common man in Pakistan and the disposal of civil cases used to take even four decades under the laws in vogue.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Minister for Law Barrister Firough Nasim, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, SAPMs Naeemul Haq and Yousuf Baig Mirza, and Advisor to the PM Muhammad Shahzad Arbab were also present.
Among the bills introduced in the National Assembly included Legal and Justice Authority Bill 2019, Whistleblower Protection and Vigilance Commission Bill 2019, Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill 2019, Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Bill 2019, Enforcement of Women’s Property Right Bill 2019 and Muslim Family Law (Amendment) Bill 2019.
It was told that the Zainab Alert Bill and the one regarding physical punishment would also be introduced in the parliament.
The prime minister urged media to support the government to get the said remarkable bills sail through the parliament as it was the first step towards the reformation of the system.
Asked as to how the government would get the bills passed from Senate where they lacked required majority, he said the government was going to play its role for public welfare and desire a positive behaviour from the opposition.
He said the people of Pakistan were cognizant enough of the government’s seriousness for their uplift.
“I want to see as to how the opposition will oppose these bills. They used the parliament merely to pressure us and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB),” the prime minister remarked. He said the Whistle-blower Protection and Vigilance Commission Bill 2019 would help expose corruption that had penetrated in the society. Under the proposed bill, a commission would be formed that would receive information about any corrupt practice and forward that to NAB, Federal Investigation Agency or any other relevant agency.
Besides confiding the identity of the whistle-blower, the bill also provides for payment of 20 percent of the recovered amount from the accused to the whistle-blower.
The prime minister told media that it was for the first time that a Legal Aid and Justice Authority would be formed subject to the passage of the bill.
The authority would provide legal, financial, or other assistance and access to justice to the poor and vulnerable segments of society.
A fund for the authority would be created and a panel of advocates including Free Representation Unit would be monitored by the authority and would work in all districts.
Under the Civil Procedure (Amendment) Act 2019, the government had proposed a two-tier concept of legal system. In first tier, main case would be heard and not to be interrupted till finalization of the proceedings. In case of miscellaneous petition or stay order, these would be heard in second tier by a different judge.
According to the new concept, losing side would pay the winning side the cost of litigation along with compulsory “adjournment costs” of Rs 5,000 for seeking adjournment as well as special costs if any party was found of abusing the court process trough frivolous litigation.
Law Minister Barrister Firough Nasim, who briefed media about the salient features of the bills, said under another bill the government had proposed to authorize the National Database Registration Authority to issue Letters of Administration or Succession Certificates to the legal heirs of a deceased in respect of the immovable or movable property in accordance with the Family Registration Certificate maintained by NADRA where there was no dispute among the heirs.
He said under Enforcement of Women’s Property Right Bill 2019, the government had proposed to utilize the existing Women Ombudsperson for receiving the complaints of any woman deprived of ownership or possession or properties.
If the case required in-depth inquiry, the matter would be referred to the civil court preferably within 60 days that would save the women themselves from filing the cases in the said courts. After passage, the law would be applicable to the federal capital, while the provinces have been asked to follow the suit.
Under Muslim Family Law (Amendment) Bill 2019, concerning the Shiite school of thought, the widow of the deceased would get 1/4th share. Moreover, under the proposed bill related to the very sect, divorce would be ineffective if it was done jokingly, under anger, intoxication or under coercion.
The law minister said another bill to safeguard the overseas Pakistanis against the fraudulent activities was also in process. Moreover, the reforms in CRPC and NAB laws would also be introduced.
To a question, he said prior to laying the bills, he had consulted with the legal fraternity that had lauded the initiative.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Quresi, who is also the deputy parliamentary leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in National Assembly, told media that by passing the said bills, the impression of the parliament should be rectified.
He said the seven bills had been laid in the parliament and referred to the standing committees concerned. The opposition had the opportunity to put in their contribution to improve the legislation, he added.

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