Pak Affairs

Article 58/2(B) will be abolished: Zardari

NWFP name to be changed into Pukhtoonkhwa
ISLAMABAD: The 62-point Constitutional Amendments Package prepared by the PPP proposes abolition of the article 58/2(B) regarding President’s power to dissolve the National Assembly and transfer of President’s powers to appoint Services Chiefs to the Prime Minister. This was announced by the PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari after presiding over a meeting of the party’s central executive committee in Islamabad on Islamabad. He said under an amendment being proposed in article one of the Constitutions, the name of the NWFP is to be changed into Pukhtoonkhwa.

He said the meeting has empowered him to consult coalition partners and lawyers including PML (N) Quaid Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan and MQM. He said the Law Minister would meet leaders of the parties inside and outside the parliament with a view to taking them on board over proposed amendments. He said Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan has agreed to a suggestion that lawyers would have a meeting with the PPP leader on the issue. Mr. Zardari said Peoples Party will also engage the President in a dialogue on this package.

Explaining salient features of the proposed amendments, Law Minister Farooq H. Naik said in order to make the parliament supreme, the powers presently enjoyed by the President would be handed over back to the Prime Minister. He said Article-6 is proposed to be amended to include that judges of the high courts and supreme courts validating suspension or abrogation of the constitution will attract high treason and cease to be judge of the superior courts.

The Law Minister said there is also proposal to restrict election of the President to two full terms so that no one can contest elections for more than twice. Under another amendment a person holding another office of profit would not be qualified to hold a public office. Similarly criticism of the judiciary or armed forces would not attract disqualification for candidates to the assemblies under Article 63 of the constitution.

The power to appoint Governors would be transferred back to the Prime Minister. Caretaker Governments would be formed in consultations with the Chairman of the Senate, Speaker of the National Assembly and Governors of the provinces. There is also proposal to elect one minority member from each province to the Senate of Pakistan give minorities an effective presence in the upper

It would be mandatory to hold meeting of the Council of Common Interest twice a year to address grievances of the smaller provinces and sort out autonomy related issues. Similarly the National Economic Council would also be made more effective and NFC award would be announced after three instead of five years. Mr. Asif Ali Zardari congratulated media persons over release of a senior journalist Rehmat Shah Afridi after long incarceration. He said talks in this respect were held with the PML (N) Provincial Government of Punjab which culminated into his release.

Replying to questions the PPP leader said they want to empower Balochistan in respect of mineral resources and ports and Gwadar would be declared an economic zone. Mr. Zardari said he would visit Balochistan soon to take people of the province into confidence. To another question he said assemblies gave us mandate to appraoch the UN for probe into Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. The meeting also passed a resolution reposing confidence in the leadership of Mr. Zardari and authorized him to initiate dialogue with other stake-holders to take them into confidence.-SANA

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Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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