NA passes Inquiry Commission Bill 2016 amid protest

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Zahid Chaudhary

Islamabad—National Assembly Wednesday passed Inquiry Commission Bill 2016 amidst walkout by the opposition lawmakers.
Due to lack of quorum yesterday, the government had failed to get the bill passed but on Tuesday the treasury managed to bring in the required numbers of lawmakers to the house to pass the legislation moved by Law Minister Zahid Hamid. Amid opposition’s protest, the House passed the Bill with majority votes.
Under the law, Inquiry Commission has been give additional and special powers. The commission would have all the powers of a criminal court under Criminal Procedure Code.
The commission will also have the powers to constitute a team of administration officials or experts of certain field, which will help the commission in inquiry.
Law Minister Zahid Hamid told the House that under the law, the federal government would appoint members of the commission through notification. The commission will have powers equal to high court to initiate contempt proceedings against anyone defying the commission’s orders, or maligning and scandalizing it.
The federal and provincial governments and authorities will be bound to assist the commission. The final or sub-reports of the commission can be published.
The Government by notification can also confer additional powers to the Commission having powers of the criminal court, power to constitute an international team and seek international cooperation from foreign countries or agencies to get information, documents, evidence and record or issue letters.
The opposition did not participate in the proceeding to pass the bills. PPP MNA Shazia Marri before the voting on the bill pointed out quorum. However, after count it turned out that there are enough members in the House to meet the quorum.
But, Marri challenged the count. Upon this, the speaker after getting the doors of the Assembly Hall locked asked Ms Marri to count herself the members present inside the hall.
Even after the second count, it turned out that there are enough members in the house.
After this, the house approved the Inquiry Commission Bill 2016 with majority vote.
The House also passed Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2016 and Public-Private Partnership Authority Bill 2016.
After the passage of the Bills, PPP MNA Aijaz Jakhrani protested against the attitude of the government, saying that the government was not ready to give any importance to the opposition. He said that there was no democracy rather monarchy in the country.