Constitutional amendment bill ready for cabinet -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Constitutional amendment bill ready for cabinet

ISLAMABAD, May 20: Law Minister Farooq H. Naek has said he has finalised the draft of the proposed 18th Constitution Amendment Bill and it will soon be presented to the cabinet for approval.

“I spent the day in my office to give a final shape to the proposed amendments and will be visiting PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari tomorrow to get a final approval to the draft,” Mr Naek told Dawn on Tuesday.

He said the draft containing a long list of amendments to substitute many existing provisions would be tabled in the National Assembly.

The bill when approved would pave way for reinstating the judges who were sacked after proclamation of emergency by President Pervez Musharraf on Nov 3, 2007, as well as balancing the power equation between the president and the prime minister.

The PPP has convened a meeting of its Central Executive Committee in Islamabad on May 24 to take its members into confidence on the issue. The chief ministers of Sindh and Balochistan will also attend the meeting.

Sources said a National Assembly session might be convened as early as May 26 for tabling the bill. However, the law minister said no date had been fixed so far.

The sources said the constitutional package included repealing Article 58(2b) of the Constitution that empowered the president to dissolve the National Assembly.

They said Article 6 (high treason) and other relevant acts were also likely to be drastically amended to also punish judges validating military takeovers and taking oath of allegiance to military regimes.

Under the proposed package, the president would lose the power to appoint chiefs of the army and other services and the chief election commissioner, they said.
Source: Dawn
Date:5/21/2008