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Govt finalises strategy to pass women’s bill

ISLAMABAD: Nov 14:The ruling alliance on Tuesday finalised its strategy to pass the Women Protection Bill (WPB) in today’s (Wednesday) session of the National Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Sher Afgan told The News.Sources said the Women Protection Bill will be moved by Federal Law Minister Wasi Zafar. It is expected that the bill would be referred to the Senate after its adoption on Wednesday. The Senate session would be convened during the current week.The strategy to this effect was chalked out at a high-level meeting-cum-dinner hosted by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz here on Tuesday. President General Pervez Musharraf also attended the dinner and gave a ‘go ahead’ signal to the plan.

Afgan said as one reading of the bill, approved by the select committee, has been completed in the last session of the National Assembly, two more readings would be required for its passage. Hopefully, it would be done on Wednesday. The second reading of clause-by-clause could take time but the third and final reading will take no time, he said.The prime minister hosted a dinner for the leaders of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League and its allied parties. Earlier, he had a meeting with the president in his Rawalpindi camp office. The prime minister will host a breakfast meeting of the PML-Q and its partners in the government on Wednesday. All the MNAs have been asked to stay in the Parliament House and attend the proceedings of the National Assembly.

The prime minister’s dinner was attended by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Chaudhry Amir Hussain, Rao Sikandar Iqbal, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Salim Saifullah Khan, Wasi Zafar, Amanullah Khan Jadoon, Dr. G G Jamal, Major (r) Tahir Iqbal, Liaquat Ali Jatoi, Ijaz-ul-Haq, Dr. Sher Afgan Khan Niazi, Dr. Farooq Sattar, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Wasim Sajjad, Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dreshak, Sardar Muhammad Tufail, Hamid Nasir Chattha, Justice (r) Abdul Razzaq Thahim, Senator Muneer Orakzai, Shahid Akram Bhindar, Khalil-ur-Rehman, Major General (r) Shafqat Ahmad (military secretary to the president) and Dr. Waqar Masood.
Tariq Butt adds: The Women Protection Bill (WPB), as cleared by the special select committee, which aims to change the rape law, will be presented in the National Assembly today (Wednesday), positively, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Sher Afgan told The News.

However, the minister’s categorical assertion came amid widespread speculations that the government may change its mind at the last minute to go ahead with its plan. “The bill has been placed on the agenda of business for Wednesday. Please note my emphasis on the bill as reported by the select committee, which means no change has been made on the demand of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal,” Afgan said.Afgan threw a gauntlet to the MMA to translate into reality its threat, as the original bill would be tabled in the House. “To facilitate them, I have prepared their resignation letters in which they can write down their names and constituency numbers to be handed over to the speaker. I have thus provided them guidance,” the minister said, tauntingly.Perhaps, Afgan said, one amendment relating to the lewdness may be inserted in the bill as “we had beseeched President Gen Pervez Musharraf to allow its inclusion.” He said not a single amendment proposed by the religious scholars’ committee and “Maulvis” has been incorporated in the bill.
Source: The News

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