Senate Body Passes Bill Requiring NA’s Approval for Supplementary Grants

The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice unanimously passed the “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2023” (Amendment of Article 84), making it compulsory for the Federal government to acquire prior approval from the National Assembly for supplementary grants.

The committee meeting held here at Parliament House on Wednesday with Senator Ali Zafar in Chair, however, recommended the Finance division to draft a ‘list of events’ to help the government cope with unforeseen circumstances like epidemics or natural disasters.

Additionally, the committee discussed “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2024” (Amendment of Article 106). Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, one of the bill’s movers, explained that the bill aims to increase the general seats of the Balochistan Assembly from 51 to 63. He argued that Balochistan, being the largest province by area, faces challenges with a single constituency covering a vast area, making it difficult for candidates to campaign effectively. The Committee agreed on the amendment in principle but decided to invite the Election Commission of Pakistan to resolve concerns about the rationale for the seat increase.

Furthermore, the Senate body deliberated on “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2024” (Amendment of Article 51). Senator Danesh Kumar, one of the bill’s movers, stated that the aim is to mandate political parties to elect at least one minority member for the National Assembly from each province. He argued that recent history shows a bias towards electing minority members from Punjab and Sindh, neglecting Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan minorities.

Raja Naeem Akbar, Secretary Law and Justice, noted that while the principle allows parties to elect competent minority candidates nationwide, the amendment restricts them to Balochistan. The committee decided to discuss the breakdown of the minority population across the country to establish a formula for minority seats in the National Assembly.

In attendance were Senators Manzoor Ahmed Kakar, Danesh Kumar, Kamran Murtaza, Walid Iqbal, Secretary Law and Justice, and other senior officials of relevant departments.

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