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Event Title: Munzoor Ahmed Kakar Presides over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development at Parliament House

Event Date: 2023-01-05

The Senate Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Committee on Thursday Passed the Bill “The Emigration (Amendment) Bill, 2022” introduced by Dr. Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, the objective of the bill is to consolidate and rationalize the law in Islamabad Territory (ICT) and at Trans-Provincial level, relating to formation of Trade Unions, and federation of employers and workers, the avoidance and settlement of differences or disputes arising between them or matter connected therewith, Industrial Relations ACT, 2012 was enacted. The Bill was passed unanimously after omission of item 08 of the amendments. The Bill  approves to increase the punishments of those who cheated in sending Pakistanis abroad and to appoint labor attachés in embassies abroad. The punishment of the people involved in making them do wrong was increased from 7 years to 14 years. The Industrial Relations Amendment Bill 2022 was approved by majority vote in the committee. The committee asked for the details of the Pakistanis imprisoned abroad, she said that these workers send capital to Pakistan and have brought a bill for their protection, she said that the bill is to ensure the protection of the rights of overseas Pakistanis, especially workers, appointing labor attachés in embassies and recruiting Pakistanis from Pakistan to do wrongful work abroad, penalties were increased. Under the bill, labor attachés will be appointed in Pakistani embassies abroad, along with those who will escort Pakistanis abroad and prosecute them for wrongdoing abroad or against what they may be asked to do in Pakistan she said that our foreign missions should have labor attachés with recruitment agencies that help people and said that those who are taken abroad and commit wrongdoing should be severely punished. Senator Shahadat Awan asked to withdraw the amendment to appoint a special judge, on which Senator Zarqa withdrew it, after which the committee unanimously approved the bill. On the recommendations of the committee regarding the arrears of the families of the Pakistanis who died abroad by the Overseas Pakistani Foundation, the officials and the Rise Pakistani Foundation told the committee that an amount of Rs. 84 crore has been requested from the Ministry of Finance for which a letter is being written as soon as we get this money we will distribute it to the family members. The committee directed to distribute the money as soon as possible. Overseas Pakistani Foundation, officials told the committee that there are 10,000 Pakistani prisoners in foreign jails, among them there is not a single prisoner who has completed his sentence abroad and is still imprisoned, however the committee urged that there are quite a few Pakistanis who are in prison despite completing the sentence. The committee asked for the details of the Pakistanis imprisoned abroad, how many Pakistanis are imprisoned in which country and how many have not yet been released despite the completion of their sentences, along with how many Pakistani students are not studying abroad, have died abroad. Cases of compensation been paid to the family members and the details of how many cases are going on in the courts should be provided in the committee in the next meeting. A report has been requested on the recommendations of the committee.

The Senate Committee passed the Bill the Industrial Relations (Amendment), Bill 2022 introduced by Senator Shahadat Awan by Majority vote whereas Senator Zeeshan Khanzada opposed the bill stating therein that the powers should remain be vested with the Federal cabinet and not be shifted to the Prime Minister. The Ministry briefed that according to the bill appointment of the chairman and members of the National Industrial Relations Commission will now be done by the Prime Minister. The officials said that this is not a policy matter that the whole cabinet should discuss; sometimes the cabinet meeting is not held for three months and replaced the word federal government with the Prime Minister. Senator Zeeshan Khanzada opposed the bill and that if the Supreme Court has decided, than it has done the right thing, let it remain in the cabinet and not make it the prime minister.  Member National Industrial Relations Commission of Pakistan Noor Zaman gave a briefing to the committee regarding the amendment. The authorities said that wherever the word per-government is used in the act, it is being replaced with Prime Minister in the Mustafa Impex case, the court declared the government as a cabinet after which it is being changed. He further said that because we had to wait for the decision of the cabinet for small matters, before 2016, all these decisions were made by the prime minister, but after the decision of the Supreme Court, the competent authority has become the cabinet, due to which matters are being affected, after which the Cabinet had decided to replace all the Acts (in legislation) wherever the Government came to be replaced by the Prime Minister, thus amending all the concerned Ministries, he explained.

Earlier, the committee also showed displeasure on the absence of the Minister and the secretary of the overseas Ministry.

The meeting was attended by Senator Rana Mehmood-ul-Hasan, Sahadat Awan, Shaheen Khalid Butt, Zeeshan Khanzada, and Senator Zarqa Suharwardy. Senior officials from the Ministry and other concerned departments were also in attendance