Parliamentarians act wisely

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THE National Assembly on Thursday passed the Elections Reforms Amendment Bill 2017, tabled by Law Minister Zahid Hamid, that amends the recently-passed Elections Act 2017 to restore a Khatm-i-Nabuwwat (seal of the Prophethood) oath lawmakers are required, to take back to its original form. This followed marathon consultations among parliamentary leaders of different parties who agreed on immediate introduction of an amendment to the Act to undo the mistake.
Parliamentarians acted swiftly and wisely to address the issue in the very beginning as there were apprehensions of a major controversy involving allies of the Government as well. Finality of the Prophethood is a delicate and sensitive issue and it was not prudent on the part of those who changed the original language of the oath form even if there was no bad intention. Anyhow better sense prevailed and parliamentarians realised that if it was a collective mistake and they need to rectify it promptly. But the incident shows how legislation is done in the country, necessitated revision in the process. In theory, basic input is given to draftsmen who prepare a draft bill that goes to one house and referred to its standing committee concerned for detailed consideration. There are also provisions for eliciting public opinion if the situation so demands. The draft approved by the committee is considered and adopted by the entire house and then it goes to the other house where similar exercise is done. In this particular case, the Election Bill was prepared after two years of deliberations in which representatives of all political parties took part. However, the glaring mistake could not be spotted by any member or the party, which means that most of them pay only lip service to their original job of legislation. Laws are framed for ever and their each comma and full stop should be taken into deep consideration to avoid any complication or unintended consequences.