NA unanimously adopts 19th amendment bill

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly(NA) on Wednesday unanimously approved 19th amendment bill.

Clause by clause voting was done to get the approval of the members.

Earlier, Federal Cabinet approved the draft of 19th Amendment Bill, after which it was presented in National Assembly for clause-by-clause voting.

The bill proposes amendments in six articles of the constitution. The amendment proposes 26 amendments in six Articles of the Constitution.

The amendment proposes four judges in judicial commission instead of two judges. The legislation also proposes withdrawal of the powers of the Chief Justice with regard to appointment of the adhoc judges in higher courts and handing over the same to the judicial commission.

The bill also proposes at least 15-year experience for the representative of provincial bar that will represent the body in the Judicial Commission.

Leader for parliamentary constitutional committee senator Raza Rabbani tabled the 19th amendment bill for approval in the NA on Wednesday. All clauses of the bill were presented for approval one by one and all the members present in the House voted in favor of it.

In the final consensus 258 members of the House voted in favor whereas one vote of Kashmala Tariq PML-Q was against it but later on when senator Raza Rabbani presented the bill clause wise all 242 including Kashmala Tariq voted in favour.

Before the final acceptance of the bill senator Raza Rabbani addressed the House and clarified that the right of appointment of adhoc judges is not taken away from the Chief Justice , he will still make the appointment but with the consultation of the judicial commission which was not a part of the previous constitution , as per the new bill the chief justice will not forward the names to the parliamentary committee but to PM through judicial commission and from there the names of the adhoc judges will be forwarded to President for approval.

He said When the 18th amendment was approved a lot of hue and cry was raised on article 175 and a petition was submitted against it but all the government bodies kept on working according to the constitution and despite of all this 18th amendment bill was passed in the parliament unanimously .

As per 19th amendment bill article 213, 182, 175,81 and 246 have been amended, and IHC after the amendment in article 175 has been added. By amending article 175-A judicial commission has raised the number of the judges from 2 to 4 and for the nomination of the Bar council member in the commission no less than 15 years of experience is required, Islamabad High Court(IHC) will also be given representation.

It was informed that as per article 68 now the appointment of judges in the parliamentary committee meeting will be recorded which previously happened in closed rooms. By amendments in the 18th bill a balance has been created in president, parliament and prime minister, provinces have been given autonomy.

Raza Rabbani said we believe in freedom of justice and give a lot of respect to the judiciary and democracy can not move forward without the freedom of justice.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani Speaking on the floor of the House on Wednesday has said that impression of rift between government and judiciary has proven vague after the endorsement of 19th amendment and from now institutions will respect each other’s mandate.

he said for now judicial commission has held three meetings and decided about the appointments of many judges including selection of chief justices for Lahore and Islamabad High Courts. On the other hand, parliamentary judicial committee has also started working in the directions of judicial commission.

He said an expression related to non-cooperation of parliament and judiciary had been advocated, however, parliament and political leadership remained successful in defeating this expression after 19th amendment.

He said it was the vision of nation’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah that country should practice the parliamentary system, whereas the present government has turn his dream into a reality

He assured after 19th amendment, predicaments would not be faced in future, nor any rift will be seen among institutions. He said government respects judiciary and will do so in the future.

While explaining the point of view of Kashmala Tariq about endorsement of 19th amendment on pressure of apex court, PM Gilani said, committee was constituted with all parties’ consensus and all parties nominated their best members, so this expression is vague.

He said powers to formulate constitutional committee were with speaker national assembly and all parties forwarded the names of their member to speaker.

He said rules to promote secretaries are now formulated in the directions of Supreme Court, I cut in my own discretionary powers and I am the first prime minister in history who did so. He further said government will ensure more transparency in promotions whereas we are also ready to hold debate on FC rules.

He said to reorganize the institutions running in deficits, we have issued directives to finance ministry, whereas government has also requested recommendations related to economic reforms and progress.

Related to reservations expressed by Kishanchand Parwani, he said current minister for minority affairs himself belongs to minority who also sits in cabinet meetings. If anyone has concerns pertaining to minority rights, let him know. Government will resolve their issues, PM added.

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