QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly on Monday passed the Home-Based Workers Bill aimed at protecting the rights of women and other people involved in the cottage industry in the province.

Providing legal protection to people involved in home-based work was a long-time demand of civil society and various organisations.

Parliamentary Secretary on Law and Parliamentary Affairs Dr Rubaba Khan Buledi moved the bill in the house. Members from both sides of the aisle supported the bill and the house passed it without any opposition.

The house also adopted the Balochistan Universities Draft Bill, 2022, with a majority vote. The bill was moved by Minister for Education Mir Naseebullah Marri.

Bill is aimed at protecting rights of people involved in commercial activities from home

Under the draft bill, the powers to appoint vice chancellors of government-run universities have been withdrawn from the governor and given to the chief minister.

Speaking on the bill, Leader of the Opposition Malik Sikandar Khan said that his party had some reservations and suggested that the bill should be handed over to the standing committee of the assembly as, according to him, all stakeholders were not taken into confidence on it.

“Directly adopting a bill in the house is a humiliation of the standing committees of the house,” he said.

A member of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Nasarullah Zerey, also expressed his reservations on the bill, saying that elected representatives, academic staff, students and other stakeholders had been ignored.

“All universities working in Balochistan have their own act. There is no need to do any new experiment in this regard,” Mr Zerey said, adding that all stakeholders should be taken into confidence before adopting the bill.

He said the bill should be handed over to the standing committee of the house so that its draft could be improved.

Provincial ministers Zamrak Khan Piralizai, Abdul Wahid Siddique and Syed Azizullah Agha of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Malik Naeem Bazai, Mir Metha Khan Kakar and Shaheena Kakar also opposed the bill’s draft and demanded that it should be sent to the standing committee of the house. They walked out from the house as a protest.

Speaking on the bill, Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, however, requested the members from both sides to pass the bill without any opposition, as the government was doing a good job by adopting this bill.

“We can make amendments in the act whenever required,” he said.

Provincial ministers Sardar Abdul Rehman, Mir Asadullah Baloch, Parliamentary leader of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal Malik Naseer Ahmed, Mir Hammal Kalmati and Parliamentary Secretary Bushra Rind supported the bill.

After debate on the bill, the house passed it with a majority vote.

The assembly’s session was presided over by Deputy Speaker Sardar Babar Khan Musakhail.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2022

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