Bills on money whitening, enhancing minorities’ seats in National Assembly today
By: Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
ISLAMABAD: The ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has decided to introduce a constitutional amendment and a money-whitening scheme in the National Assembly today (Monday). The amendment pertains to increasing the minorities’ seats in the national and provincial assemblies while the other termed the ‘Tax laws Amendment Bill’ would allow the whitening of black money.
No questioning or investigation would be conducted in case the money is brought into the tax net under the scheme. The opposition is in the process of formulating its strategy on how to oppose the money-whitening scheme. Leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan has already made it clear that his party and other opponents of the government would go to any extent to block the bill.
Well-placed sources told The News that the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) leadership has made up its mind to oppose the Money Bill at every stage. It is understood that once the bills are introduced as motions in the lower house of parliament on Monday evening, they will be referred to the standing committee concerned where the government has an absolute majority.
The ruling alliance has developed the habit of bulldozing the legislation in the committee and it is understood that the bills in question would be adopted in the committee as and when they are brought in for deliberations, the sources said.
The National Assembly’s tenure ends in less than 90 days now and the urgency to pass the bills is not known. The opposition leader is of the view that the proposed bill for whitening money is part of a series of legislation to protect the rulers’ corruption and plunder.
The standing committee headed by a woman activist of the ruling PPP is expected to approve the bills on a fast-track basis so that the legislation should be carried out in the current session of the two houses, the sources hinted. The opposition is likely to support the constitutional amendment for increasing the number of minorities’ seats in the assemblies. The amendment will increase the number of National Assembly seats for minorities from 10 to 14 while the Sindh Assembly will have an additional three minority members.
Two seats will be enhanced for minorities in the Punjab Assembly. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan assemblies will have one extra seat each for the minorities. The amendment is likely be adopted by the National Assembly without any difficulty.
The government has shelved the constitutional amendment bill on dual nationality holders after it failed to get it approved by the Senate because the required number of government members weren’t present in the house in the previous session of the Senate, the sources said.