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Senate strikes down Companies Ordinance

ISLAMABAD: The Senate blocked Companies Ordinance 2016 with a majority vote on Thursday on the grounds that it should be promulgated through parliament.

It was the third setback for the PML-N government in three years as the upper house has earlier rejected two presidential ordinances citing the same reason.

The Companies Ordinance 2016, which was to replace the Companies Ordinance of 1984, was rejected by the Senate within minutes of the start of the session. It was promulgated on Nov 12 by the president of Pakistan, possibly as a shorter route by the government to fulfil certain international obligations for the country to upgrade its corporate laws.

However, on Nov 25 a resolution signed by 47 senators belonging to all the opposition parties was submitted to the Senate Secretariat demanding the upper house to strike down the ordinance.

While two senators from the government side and one from the opposition benches tried to defend the government move, most speakers belonging to almost all the opposition parties decried the move.

“I still don’t understand the need to bring an ordinance in such a hurry,” Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, who initiated the resolution, said in his speech.

Senator Mandviwalla, who is also the chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance, said that no bill has lapsed in one year, and all the relevant bills have been approved by the Senate’s committee.

Strong-worded speeches were made by members of the upper house, including Tahir Mashhadi, Azam Musakhel, Mohsin Leghari, Sherry Rehman, Farhatullah Babar and Aitzaz Ahsan. They all criticised the government for bringing out an ordinance in the presence of the National Assembly and Senate, and said that bypassing parliament was the policy of dictators.

The ordinance has been disapproved under Article 89 of the Constitution, which grants the president to promulgate ordinances. However, following the 18th Amendment in 2010, sub-clauses were added to the article, granting powers to any of the house to dissolve any presidential ordinance through a majority vote.

Earlier, a resolution by Senator Saeed Ghani in December 2015 dissolved the PIA ordinance which sought to convert the airline into a company.

As Senate strikes down the 2016 ordinance, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan will continue to regulate the corporate sector under the Companies Ordinance 1984. Besides, the draft Companies Bill 2016 was already presented to the National Assembly on Nov 18.

courtesy : dawn news

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