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Govt suffers rare defeat as Opposition stands united in NA


  • Govt defeated as bill barring candidates from changing election symbol put to vote

ISLAMABAD: The government were dealt a significant defeat on Tuesday during a session of the National Assembly when voting took place on a bill proposing that election candidates be prohibited from changing their symbols for a period of seven years.

The motion of the bill was presented by PML-N’s Syed Javed Hasnain. Maleeka Bokhari of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) argued that the Constitution guarantees every individual the right to be part of any party.

With the government opposing a constitutional amendment to bring about the new rule, which makes it incumbent upon a candidate to contest elections with the same symbol for seven years, the matter went to a vote.

The results of an initial voice vote, which Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri announced as going against the bill, were challenged by the Opposition after which voting took place again. The subsequent count revealed 117 in favour of the bill and 104 in opposition to it.

The bill was then sent by Suri to the relevant committee.

The Opposition was swift to celebrate victory with both PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb issuing statements.

“I congratulate the joint opposition for yet another defeat dealt to the government in the National Assembly,” he wrote on Twitter.

Aurangzeb, while speaking to the media in the parliament, said that the government was dealt a defeat in the National Assembly despite its preparation for today’s session.

“The prime minister called a session and even then he got 104 votes, whereas the Opposition secured 117,” she said.

The PML-N spokesperson said that the Opposition stands ready for the joint parliament session, scheduled for November 10.

She said the Opposition would do its best to “stop” bills pertaining to the NAB ordinance and electoral reforms from passing.

She said the NAB ordinance has been brought about “to give a [concession under] the NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to the flour and sugar thieves”.

“The voting machine is a black law,” she added, referring to electronic voting machines that the government seeks to have ready for use in the next elections.

Aurangzeb said that the PTI is “well aware it will not even find people to issue tickets to for the next elections”.

“Whether the prime minister convenes a session, or screams or cries, his time is up now,” she concluded.



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