ISLAMABAD: Four bills were passed today in the Senate including The National Accountability Amendment Bill 2021, Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill 2021, Higher Education Commission Bill 2021 (Amendment) and Higher Education Commission Bill 2021 (Second Amendment).
Since Wednesday, a record total of 33 bills have been passed by the government including the much debated i-voting for overseas Pakistanis and the usage of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the next elections despite multiple objections raised by the opposition.
The media protection bill was presented by the Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari, followed by the NAB bill presented by Dr Farogh Naseem. Dr Shireen expressed her views on Twitter by congratulating the media industry.
“Today, a two-year struggle to provide a comprehensive journalist and media professionals protection law, drafted in consultation with journalists’ bodies, was finally realised through parliament,” Mazari tweeted.
Fawad Chaudhry acknowledged and appreciated the efforts of Dr Mazari and praised the decision by Senate.
“Congratulations to working journalists. This bill will grant journalists rights that are only given to media professionals in highly developed societies.”
However, the opposition wanted the bill to be sent to the standing committee for examination. Opposition member Sherry Rehman said that the government was not respecting their perspective on the bills.
“What was left of parliament in the Senate was destroyed today when the treasury introduced a supplementary agenda at 12.35pm without laying bills and just called in members to bulldoze a NAB bill. From now on the Senate too will not run,” she tweeted.
The PPP senator showed reservations on the process that was carried as she claimed that the bills were presented during the Jumma prayers.
“Because friends in the media are asking: we did NOT oppose the journalist protection bill but were asking for it to go to a standing committee, same as what we wanted for all bills after the supplementary agenda was produced when members had left for Friday prayers,” read her tweet.