The government on Wednesday achieved a crucial victory in the parliament’s joint session as it managed to pass the Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021, granting voting rights to overseas Pakistanis and the use of electronic voting machines.
The joint session was supposed to take place on Nov 11 but was cancelled by the government much to the opposition’s chagrin after its allies expressed reservations. However, after taking all allies on board, President Arif Alvi summoned the session today at noon.
The opposition, in protest, tore copies of the day’s agenda and walked out of the session in protest. The bill on the use of EVMs was earlier deferred at the request of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan but was later put up for a vote.
Following the protest, leaders of opposition parties gathered in the chambers of the opposition leader, Shehbaz Sharif, to ponder over a future course of action.
Addressing the media out the Parliament House, Shehbaz Sharif said the day would be remembered as the “blackest day in the history of the parliament”.
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Ameer Sirajul Haq echoed Shehbaz’s sentiments and said the new laws were passed to “steal the next elections”.
He added that it was a “sad day in the history of the parliament”
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairperson, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, also attended the session along with his father Asif Ali Zardari, the co-chairperson of the PPP that rules Sindh.