ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani stalled on Tuesday a resolution seeking to pay tribute to two-time Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and directed the movers to include in it the names of those women activists who had faced police brutalities for raising their voice against honour killings.

“Besides the name of a woman who has received an award from the US, the resolution should also have a mention of those women who had faced police baton-charge on roads during their struggle which led to the introduction of a bill against honour killings in this house,” Mr Rabbani said amid desk-thumping when Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq and Leader of Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan sought permission from the chair to allow Nasreen Jalil of the MQM to table the resolution to pay tribute to Ms Chinoy.

Ms Chinoy won her Oscar Award in the short documentary category for her film, ‘A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness’, highlighting the issue of honour killings.

Mr Rabbani, however, did not provide the members an opportunity to table an amended resolution and abruptly adjourned the session.

Ms Jalil is now expected to table the resolution on Wednesday.

Earlier, the chairman directed Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Aftab Shaikh to ensure that the eight bills, including the one against honour killings, which had been passed by the Senate but lapsed because of the government’s failure to get them through the National Assembly within the stipulated 90-day period, were part of the agenda of a joint sitting of parliament which the government had been planning to get the laws passed.

Senate chairman stalls resolution paying tribute to Sharmeen, wants other women activists’ names included in it

Mr Rabbani issued the directive when PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar, while speaking on a “matter of public importance”, paid tribute to Ms Chinoy and reminded the chair that the Senate had already passed a bill against honour killings and it had now lapsed.

Quoting Ms Chinoy as saying that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, during a meeting with her, had promised to bring in legislation on honour killings, Mr Babar expressed the hope that Mr Sharif would fulfil this commitment when the government would convene a joint sitting of parliament in a few days.

Mr Rabbani regretted that he had written letters to the government asking it to take up the eight bills in the joint sitting, but so far there had been no progress in this regard.

“Please make a request that when the president summons the joint session (of parliament), the eight bills will be part of the agenda,” he said while addressing to the minister.

The Senate had last year passed the Anti-Honour Killings Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment Bill) 2014, which was moved by PPP’s Sughra Imam just days before her retirement as senator.

UNCONSTITUTIONAL WORK: The Senate chairman expressed his annoyance over a letter received by the Senate Secretariat from the Cabinet Division in response to a report of the special committee on devolution and said that instead of sending a reply he had decided to put the matter before the house for a debate.

“The Cabinet Division has stated that the Senate has done unconstitutional work,” Mr Rabbani said, referring to the Cabinet Division’s correspondence in response to the committee’s recommendation regarding reconstitution of policy and administrative boards and councils.

Senate Secretary Amjad Pervaiz shared with the house details of the Cabinet Division’s response.

“It is for the information of the house that in response to recommendations of the Senate Special Committee on Devolution Process adopted by the house on Aug 7, 2015, that all policy and administrative boards, councils, bodies, etc, constituted under various acts of parliament or established by an executive order, shall be reconstituted to in order to ensure that equal representation is given to all the provinces, the Cabinet Division has furnished a reply to the Senate Secretariat to the effect that the directions given by the committee in certain areas may not consistent with the administrative legislation, constitutional framework and laws of Pakistan,” stated the letter read out by the secretary.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat, Talha Mehmood, presented a report on the controversial bill seeking to convert the Pakistan International Airlines Corporation into a limited company.

The committee had rejected the bill at its meeting on Monday.

The government, which is in minority in the Senate, now plans to convene a joint sitting of parliament to get the bill passed.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2016