Islamabad: The report of the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms has been presented in the National Assembly. Prepared in the light of the Supreme Court directions, the report would form basis for 19th Constitutional Amendment Bill, which mainly relates to stream-lining the procedure for appointment of judges to superior courts.
The document presented by Chairman of the Committee, Mian Raza Rabbani, in the house today has unanimously been cleared by members of the Committee. It proposes 26 amendments in 6 articles of the Constitution. One amendment seeks inclusion of four instead of two senior most judges in the Judicial Commission meant for appointment of judges. In the case of dissolution of the National Assembly, members of the Senate on the Parliamentary Committee would have the power to decide about appointment of judges. The Parliamentary Committee would be required to give reasons for rejection of any name proposed by the Judicial Commission. Another amendment proposes to entrust the power to nominate ad hoc judges to the Judicial Commission.
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani congratulated the House and the nation on this great achievement and expressed resolve of the government to strengthen institutions. He said the consensus on the 19th amendment shows that we want to strengthen national institutions and not individuals. The Prime Minister said this great achievement has belied propaganda that the present assembly was a rubber stamp and said he had never seen such an independent House before.
Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani pointed out that the 1973 constitution was also a unanimous document and the present parliament also adopted one hundred and one amendments under 18th constitutional amendment Bill. The Prime Minister said the parliamentarians and political leadership of the country has demonstrated maturity and raised prestige of the House.
He said there apprehensions being expressed by some circles that the judiciary would strike down some amendments adopted by the House under 18th amendment Bill but credit goes to the judiciary which sent back the case to the parliament for review. The parliament too has reciprocated the sentiment of respect by presenting this unanimous report. The Prime Minister also congratulated the nation on highly successful test firing of missile today.
Speaker Dr. Fehmida Mirza also congratulated the House on presentation of this unanimous report and said that for the second time in a year unanimous constitutional amendments are being presented. She hoped that this would help strengthen institutions. Earlier presenting the report Mian Raza Rabbani said that unanimity of views would send a strong signal that Pakistan’s democracy and institutions are coming of age. It will also send signal that the political system is maturing and democratic institutions are gaining strength.
He paid tributes to the judiciary for demonstrating maturity and added that the parliamentary committee on judicial reforms was allowed to work without interference from any side. Members belonging to different political parties in the House also described it as a historic moment in the constitutional history of the country. They hoped that this would lead to rule of law and constitution. Those who spoke on the occasion included Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Sheikh Aftab, Pervez Khan Advocate, Khushbakht Shujaat, Zafar Baig Bhittani, Kashmala Tariq, Sardar Bahadur Khan Sihar and Nawab Yousaf Talpur.