On Sunday, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani withdrew a proposed bill to combat violent extremism in response to significant backlash from parliamentarians, including governing coalition members.
The bill, known as ‘The Prevention of Violent Extremism Bill 2023’, was due to be presented by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah during the session. Yet, it faced stiff opposition from numerous lawmakers, even those of the ruling coalition.
PTI representative Mohammad Humayun Mohmand voiced his need to clarify the timing of the bill’s presentation. He questioned, “Why is there an urgency to table this bill on a Sunday, on a public holiday?”
Mohmand further suggested that adhering to proper procedures while passing such legislation would bolster its legitimacy. He warned, “If we rush through this just because the government believes time is running out, then we risk making a hasty, unproductive decision.”
The Minister of Climate, Sherry Rehman, defended the decision to hold the session on Sunday. She argued that there had been precedents of sessions being conducted on weekends. She reacted to comments questioning why the proposed bills weren’t referred to relevant committees and explained the legislative process.
“Perhaps it’s not widely known, but once the National Assembly (NA) concludes its term, any bills originating there are deemed invalid on the day the assembly’s term ends,” Rehman said. She clarified that the Senate could introduce bill amendments after the assembly’s term concludes. “No one is advocating for rushed legislation,” she added.
Irfan Siddiqui, a PML-N Senator, then admitted that they may feel obligated to vote for the bills as a part of the ruling party. Nonetheless, he assured them that they would continue to do so.