It was an embarrassing moment for the government when it failed to table the controversial cybercrime bill due to missing quorum. Minister for Information Technology Anusha Rehman wanted to get the draft of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill, 2016 passed by the house with proposed 51 amendments by Senate.
On one hand, some opposition lawmakers were protesting against the cybercrime bill while on the other, the minister was frantically trying to persuade ministers and lawmakers to stay in the house and help in getting the bill passed. However, her efforts went in vain as she could not maintain the quorum of 86 lawmakers; the minimum requirement to run the house business.
The lack of interest can be assessed from the fact that the house was full when Prime Minister addressed the session; however, most of the lawmakers left after Maghrib prayer. Due to the same, National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had to adjourn the meeting until the next business day.
Opposition’s Protest on Cybercrime bill
Earlier, members from the opposition parties criticized certain clauses of the bill citing them as against the freedom of expression.
Mr. Naveed Qamar, The PPP’s Parliamentary Leader Naveed Qamar started the debate, saying that it was a draconian law, which is violative of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. “It is certain that the draft will not stand up to the scrutiny of the court of law,” he added.
MQM lawmaker Ali Raza Abidi also criticized sections of the bill, which, he said, are not acceptable.
PTI’s Ali Muhammad Khan feared that the new cybercrime law might be used against opponents by the future government, the Express Tribune reported.
PPP’s Nafisa Shah stated she was feeling ashamed of being part of Parliament which was going to pass the bill which was against the fundamental rights.
The House would meet again today.