The Senate on Friday passed the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Amendment Bill 2021 amid an outcry from the Opposition on suffering back-to-back defeats in the House, where it otherwise enjoys a dominating numerical strength.

The bill was passed by the upper house with the treasury benches enjoying a one-vote lead of 43 members over the Opposition’s 42. The bill was presented by Finance Minister Senator Shaukat Tarin.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Dr Musadik Malik, taking to Twitter, said, “Leader of the Opposition Yusuf Raza Gilani is missing. One vote, i.e. of Mr Gilani, is missing and the bill to make Pakistan a slave of the IMF was passed. And those who made him Leader of the Opposition voted for the government.”


Taking to Twitter, Gilani’s son, Kasim Gilani said his father was absent from the Senate session because he had to attend Ghulam Rabbani Khar’s Qul. “To schedule secret sessions at midnight deliberately to overlap with bereavements is a violation of all norms of our culture, politics, and decency.”

“The government summoned the session post midnight knowing well that the Qul of Noor Rabbani Khar was scheduled for today. YRG was in Multan and would not have been able to make it to Islamabad by 10am in anyway ent and he had to attend the Qul of his long time friend, political colleague, and father of two PPP MNAs.”

On January 25, the Senate session was adjourned for Friday, January 28.

The SBP Amendment Bill, 2021, promises complete autonomy to the central bank and places a complete restriction on the government’s borrowing from the central bank. However, the government can now borrow at a market rate from commercial banks, which will benefit private banks owned by business elites, according to the Opposition.

The bill was passed by a majority vote. Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani then adjourned the session till January 31.