Reforms body completes 85% work on 18th Amend Bill -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Reforms body completes 85% work on 18th Amend Bill

By Iqbal Choudhry

ISLAMABAD: The Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms is likely to finalise the proposed 18th Amendment Bill and get rid of Article 58(2b) of the constitution and the Legal Framework Order before the National Assembly session later this month.

“We cannot give you the exact date, however, we have completed 80 to 85 percent of the constitutional work on the 18th Amendment Bill,” a committee member told Daily Times during a two-hour in-camera session of the National Assembly on Thursday at the Parliament House.

He said work on various clauses of the 17th Amendment and the Charter of Democracy had been completed and the committee is likely to finalise the first draft by the end of next week.

Sources said Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has taken the president as well as the allied political parties into confidence over the issue, about which he had consulted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif during his recent visit to Lahore.

Parties: The committee is likely to leave critical issues, such as renaming of the NWFP and re-scheduling of the Federal Legislative List (FLL) according to the National Finance Commission Award, to the central leaderships of the political parties. The Awami National Party and the PML-N have yet to sort out their differences over renaming the NWFP, while the PM is likely to talk to all provincial chief ministers and political leaders over the FLL.

Polls: Rejecting objections by Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party Senator Abdul Raheem Mandokhel, sources said the committee authorised the Election Commission to hold local bodies elections throughout the country.

Mandokhel had given the suggestion of letting provincial governments hold the polls, however, none of the committee members supported his suggestion, the sources added. The members unanimously agreed that Article 140A of the constitution should remain unchanged, which asks each province to establish a local government system and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to the elected representatives of the local bodies.

The sources said the committee decided to let the control of inter-provincial trade remain with the federal government, as mentioned in Article 151 of the constitution. They said the Muttahida Qaumi Movement was in favour of giving control to the provinces, however, it withdrew its objection after suggestions from various parties.

The sources said the committee also decided to take up all suggestions from lawyers regarding the judicial commission on the appointment of judges during its concluding sessions.
Source: Daily Times
Date:3/5/2010