Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani Sunday took a decision to drop an item, which pertained to ‘The Prevention of Violent Extremism Bill, 2023,’ from the house’s agenda due to reservations expressed by several members of parliament. Clarifying his position, he said the session was not summoned on the holiday due to this particular bill being introduced on behalf of Minister for Interior Rana Sana Ullah Khan for the prevention of violent extremism. The chairman further made it clear that it was decided in the meeting of the advisory committee with the mutual understanding of all parliamentary leaders to summon the session on this day. However, Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan, terming the bill in the national interest said this legislation was made in the backdrop of United Nations Security Council Resolutions under 2178 and 2354. He further clarified that this particular legislation was being made to stop the violent extremism from the country as entire nation stands united against it. Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) expressed his concerns and threatened to boycott the session if the bill was brought to the house. He proposed that the bill be sent to the relevant committee for a thorough review of its potential pros and cons to prevent misuse against any political party in the future. Similarly, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed of Jamaat-e-Islami criticized the bill, stating that it targeted not just a specific party but all political parties. He argued that non-political forces might have designed it to undermine the democratic process repeatedly. Senator Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo of the National Party also opposed the bill, describing it as an attack on democracy and urged against its hasty passage. Senator Kamran Murtaza from JUI-F proposed that the bill should not be passed without obtaining the consensus of all allied parties. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Senator Irfan-ul-Haq Siddiqui, shedding light on the significance of the bill, proposed that it should be discussed on the floor of the house instead of passing in haste. Adding to the debate, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Mohammad Humayun Mohman alleged that the bill seemed intended to discourage his party’s participation in the upcoming general elections. Given the diverse perspectives and reservations expressed by parliamentary members, the fate of the ‘Prevention of Violent Extremism Bill, 2023,’ remains uncertain, pending further consultation and deliberation among political stakeholders. Meanwhile, the Senate unanimously approved the Toshakhana bill, which proposes penalties for officials who hide state gifts instead of declaring and depositing them in the Toshakhana – the repository for such gifts. The bill was presented by State Minister for Law and Justice, Shahadat Awan, during the Senate session. The amendment states that anyone who breaks the rules outlined in Section 3 or any related rule will be fined an amount equal to five times the market value of the gift. If the person is a government servant, they may also face departmental proceedings as per the applicable laws and rules. The Toshakhana is an administrative facility under the Cabinet Division, responsible for safeguarding valuable gifts given to rulers, parliamentarians, bureaucrats, and other officials by foreign leaders and dignitaries. According to the statement of objects and reasons, the bill aims to address statutory loopholes in the existing procedures. Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi previously introduced a private bill on this subject, with detailed provisions about gifts and the Toshakhana. The government lauds its efforts and believes that the bill should provide basic principles clearly, leaving further details to be managed through rules framed as per Article 98 of the constitution. The bill seeks to achieve these objectives. The bill will become law after getting approval from President Dr Arif Alvi.