As the current government complete its constitutional five-year tenure at midnight on Thursday, the country prepares to hold the general elections on July 25, 2018, in order to elect the new members of the 15th National Assembly.
As we wait for the clock to strike 12, Pakistan Today takes a rundown on the important bills passed during the last five years.
The House passed a total of 189 bills, besides passing 136 Acts of Parliament. Furthermore, as many as 11 bills were passed during the first parliamentary year 2013-14, eight bills in the 2nd parliamentary year 2014-15, 50 bills in 2015-16, 57 bills in 2016-17 and 63 bills in 2017-18.
Moreover, for the first time in the history of National Assembly, seven bills were passed in the joint sitting out of which four were private member bills. About 16 private member bills became laws during the tenure of incumbent assembly.
Here are the major laws passed by PML-N in the last five years.
- KP-FATA merger also referred to as Thirty-First Amendment Act 2018
In a historic moment, the KP-FATA merger bill was passed by the KP Assembly with a two-third majority after it was approved by the Senate and National Assembly (NA).
The merger is expected to be completed within a framework of two years.
The Bill was tabled by Law Minister Chaudhry Mehmood Bashir Virk after the parliamentary committee approved it after months of disagreement between coalition partners with the opposition over its clauses.
The bill was opposed by government-allied parties JUI-F and Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP).
The bill is set to merge the tribal borderlands consisting of the seven agencies and six frontier regions with KP. Furthermore, it seeks six amendments in different articles of the Constitution that include Article 1; 51; 59; 62; 106; 155 and 246.
In addition to this, the number of Senate seats will decrease from 104 to 96 as FATA will no longer be represented separately.
Having said that, the KP Assembly will have 145 seats, including 115 general, 26 reserved for women and four for minorities. FATA will have 21 seats in the KP Assembly, including 16 general, four for women and one reserved for non-Muslims.
The bill also seeks to merge areas of Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) in Balochistan and K-P.
- Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2018
Another revolutionary bill was passed by the National Assembly during its tenure to protect the rights of the Transgender people publicly and privately.
The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2018 formally became law when acting President Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani gave his assent. Furthermore, the bill was put forward by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Naveed Qamar in the National Assembly and was supported by majority Senators alongside.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that transgender people could get national identity cards as a “third sex”.
Last year, the government issued its first passport with a transgender category.
Initially, the bill faced objections from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) Senator Naeema Kishwer for containing clauses that she claimed were “un-Islamic”, which were negated by the members of civil society and legislators working on the bill.
- Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015
The landmark bill titled Protection of Women Against Violence Bill 2015 became a law in Punjab after it was signed by Governor Malik Rafiq Rajwana in 2016.
Despite facing a lot of opposition even from the government quarter, this was definitely another historic moment for the women in Punjab.
In 2015, the Bill was put before the Punjab Assembly, with the specific purpose of providing women in Punjab with a form of legal protection against violence.
The law is any sort of physical violence, abusive language, stalking, cyber-crimes, sexual violence, psychological and emotional abuse against women a crime.
Moreover, the bill that addresses violence against women also provides them with special centres which remove the bureaucratic hurdles that complicate a woman’s access to justice.
Additionally, a toll-free universal access number (UAN) will be launched to receive complaints while district protection committees will be established to investigate complaints filed by women. Centres will also be set up for reconciliation and resolution of disputes.
- The Election Bill 2017
The Election Bill 2017 moved by former law minister Zahid Hamid was passed by the National Assembly in 2017.
As the majority of the members voted for the Bill, it will also incorporate amendments moved by the Opposition members.
According to Zahid Hamid, the Bill envisages reforms to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the country.
Sections 7B and 7C of the Conduct of General Elections Order, 2002 were also restored to their original form via the bill.
- The Acid and Burn Crime Act 2018.
PML-N lawmaker Marvi Memon proposed the Acid and Burn Crime Bill, 2017 in the National Assembly which got the support from the opposition as well.
The landmark bill was passed criminalising acid attacks and burn-related violence in order to help bring justice to the victims at the earliest. Moreover, this has received appreciation from human rights activists from across the country.
Pakistan People’s Party member Syed Naveed Qamar also suggested some amendments to the bill which were accepted by the National Assembly.
The bill offers free medical treatment and rehabilitation for acid burn victims. It also outlines a process for conducting trials of accused in the shortest possible time.
The amendments also state that whoever commits or attempts to commit an offence of acid or burn attack and act resulted in the death of any person shall be awarded life imprisonment.
- Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015
In August 2016, the National Assembly passed the controversial Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB) 2015 after the Senate’s unanimous adoption of the bill after the amendments were made.
The Bill was proposed by IT Minister Anusha Rehman and signed into law by President Mamnoon Hussain.
The Bill stated that the introduction of this legislation will effectively prevent cybercrimes and shall also contribute to the national security of the Nation whilst providing and enabling a secure environment or investment in IT, e-commerce and e-payments systems.
This Bill shall also afford protection to citizens which have hitherto not been completely effective, exposing them to the unmitigated threats posed by cyber criminals both at home and abroad.
The law provides for up to seven years in prison for “recruiting, funding and planning of terrorism” online.
It also allows “authorized officers” to require anyone to unlock any computer, mobile phone or other devices during an investigation.
“Whoever with dishonest intention establishes a website or sends any information with a counterfeit source intended to be believed by the recipient or visitor of the website, to be an authentic source commits spoofing,” the law says.
- National Commission on the Rights of the Child Act 2017
Another major Bill passed by the National Assembly during its tenure as the National Commission on the Rights of the Child Act 2017.
The main objectives of the bill are to examine legislation on child rights, to review policies on child rights and to inquire into violations and issues of torture.
The Bill was initially presented before the National Assembly in 2015 and was moved by Pervaiz Rashid.
Furthermore, it stated that the child rights were met under International Conventions in general and the UNCRC in particular.