In a victory for the PTI government, the joint session of the parliament passed 33 bills on Wednesday. The Parliament, Wednesday, also approved a bill seeking the chemical castration of serial rapists.
During the session, Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed opposed the bill and declared it “un-Islamic and against Sharia”. He demanded that rapists must be publicly hanged instead of being chemically castrated.
The Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Bill, 2021 aims to provide efficacious procedures, speedy trial, evidence collection, and matters connected to it. Another bill to effectively tackle the pervading instances of rape and sexual abuse in respect of women and children through changes in the substantive law was also passed.
Read more: PTI govt grants Rs.100 Million for Anti-Rape Law Fund
Furthermore, in a victory for PTI and its allies, the parliament also passed the bill to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). As per the new bill, overseas Pakistanis will be able to take part in the next general elections.
Earlier, Parliamentary Advisor Dr. Babar Awan presented the motion. 221 members from the treasury benches supported the motion. On the other hand, 203 opposition members opposed the motion. Furthermore, the opposition also made claims of incorrect counting.
Needless to say, as soon as the parliament passed the amendments to the Elections Act 2017, the Opposition created chaos. They tore up copies of the agenda and walked out in protest. Lawmakers also gathered around the treasury benches and chanted slogans against PM Khan and his government.
Read more: Electronic Voting Machines: Politicians, NGOs, TV Anchors & ECP
Important to note, the bill on the use of EVMs was deferred at the request of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, but it was later taken up again and put up to a vote.
“Bill further to amend the Elections Act, 2017 [The Elections (Second Amendmeno Bill, 2021] is 𝗣𝗔𝗦𝗦𝗘𝗗.
— Muhammad Faizan Yasin (@faizanMFY) November 17, 2021
Opposition’s strong stance against reforms
The Opposition tried to resist the bill as soon as the session began. PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif called the EVMs “evil and vicious machines.”
He also accused the government of not being sincere in creating a consensus on electoral reforms. Addressing the joint session of parliament, Shahbaz Sharif said that the government and its allies wanted to bulldoze important bills. He termed it “illegal” and said that it was equivalent to spoiling the traditions of parliament.
In the same line, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto said that the government is making the next election controversial and gave an ultimatum that they will not accept the next election if the bill for EVMs is passed.
He also recalled how the Election Commission of Pakistan too expressed reservations against the reforms.
“As long as the ECP has reservations, we have reservations,” Bilawal said.
Read more: Opposition afraid of EVMs as govt tries to do away with “rigging”?
PTI celebrates victory
Owing to the passing of the EVM bill, PTI is currently celebrating its victory. Reacting to the news, members of PTI expressed elation at their success.
“Thank God today Imran Khan did what no one thought. The next election will now be on an electronic voting machine and overseas Pakistanis will be able to vote from anywhere in the world. Despite the opposition of all the mafia, Imran Khan did it. Long live Pakistan’s overseas Khan,” Shahbaz Gill tweeted.
اللہ کا شکر آج عمران خان نے وہ کر دکھایا جو کسی نے سوچا بھی نہ تھا۔ اگلا الیکشن اب الیکٹرونک ووٹنگ مشین پر ہو گا اور سمندر پار پاکستانی دنیا کہ کسی بھی حصہ میں ہوں وہاں سے ووٹ ڈال سکیں گے۔ تمام مافیا کی مخالفت کے باوجود عمران خان نے یہ کر دکھایا۔خان کےسمندر پار پاکستانی زندہ باد
— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) November 17, 2021
History has been made courtesy the efforts of @ImranKhanPTI – He said and He does! Overseas Pakistanis now have the right to vote! #پاکستان_کی_ہوئی_جیت
— Tehreek-e-Insaf (@InsafPK) November 17, 2021
Interestingly, the PTI government was already confident that it will be successful today. Before the commencement of the joint session, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted that PTI will fulfill its election promise.
انشاللہ آج پارلیمان اوْورسیز پاکستانیوں کو انتخابات میں ووٹ ڈالنے کی سہولت کا قانون پاس کر کے تحریک انصاف ایک اور انتخابی وعدے کی تکمیل کرے گی، الیکٹرونک ووٹنگ مشین اور اوورسیز پاکستانیوں کے ووٹ کا قانون پاکستان میں جمہوریت کو مضبوط بنانے کیلئے سنگ میل ثابت ہوں گے
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) November 17, 2021