National Assembly approves 19th amendment bill

Published: December 22, 2010

Senator Rabbani said the consensus on the amendments shows democracy is gaining strength in Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE/APP

ISLAMABAD: 

The National Assembly on Wednesday unanimously approved the 19th amendment bill. The bill has now been moved to the upper house for approval.

Earlier, the Federal Cabinet had approved the draft of the 19th amendment bill, which was tabled in parliament by Senator Raza Rabbani.

The Constitutional Reforms Committee had unanimously crafted the bill, in the light of directions by the Supreme Court. Amendments had been recommended in six clauses of the constitution.

Updated from print version (below)

19th constitutional amendment: All set to amend the constitution, again

The top political leadership on Tuesday dispelled fears of confrontation among state institutions as the lower house of parliament prepared to amend the constitution for a second time in a year, this time in compliance with a Supreme Court order.

“All those who were predicting confrontation among state institutions will be disappointed today,” Senator Raza Rabbani told lawmakers after tabling in the National Assembly a report on the 19th constitutional amendment.

The fresh amendment seeks changes in a two-pronged mechanism for appointing judges in the superior courts in light of proposals forwarded to the parliament by the Supreme Court in its order.

The apex court’s order came in response to several legal challenges to the judges’ appointment mechanism envisaged in Article 175A of the 18th amendment, approved by parliament earlier this year.

The amendment is likely to be passed by the National Assembly and the Senate in their current sessions after a ceremonial approval by the federal cabinet today (Wednesday).

According to the new mechanism, the prime minister would also have a ‘symbolic’ say in the procedure. A parliamentary committee to finalise nominations by a judicial commission would have to cite reasons for rejections.

Furnished by a 26-member all-party parliamentary committee, the amendment has suggested changes to Article 175A of the constitution that deals with the appointment of judges in the superior courts.

The report by the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms (PCCR) has increased the number of members of a judicial commission formed for appointments under the 18th amendment.

The commission to be headed by the chief justice would now have as members three serving and one retired judge in addition to the federal law minister, the attorney general and a representative of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC). It also specifies 15 years experience for the PBC representative.

According to the draft of the 19th amendment, the judicial commission could not resend the nomination of a person who was once rejected by the parliamentary committee. But  in case of rejection the parliamentary committee would have to give reasons.

If a nomination is not confirmed, the judicial commission would have to send another one. In case the National Assembly is dissolved the members of the committee from the Senate would take over this job.

If confirmed, the committee would send the name of the nominee to the prime minister to be forward to the president for appointment.

More powerful than ever before

Speaking in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called the consensus on the amendment “a gift for the nation.” He said those who had been doubtful about the powers of the incumbent parliament were mistaken.

“I tell you this parliament is more powerful than all in the past, otherwise bringing two amendments to the constitution in a year would have not been possible,” he said in a brief speech after the report.

“The political leadership of the country has shown maturity by agreeing to this amendment, history will remember them,” he added.

Senator Rabbani, who heads the PCCR, said the consensus on the amendments shows democracy is gaining strength in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2010.

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Reader Comments (11)

  • sardar zaheer
    Dec 21, 2010 - 7:56PM

    Dear Mr. Raza Rabani “the people of Hazara and people from the other parts of country endeavoring for making of their own provinces” would like to know either the 19th amendment would bring reality to their causes or not, both major parties in government and opposition have always supported the possibility of existence of new provinces for a stronger federation at regional level party gatherings.

    Key politician of PML (N), PPP and PMQ has many time quoted during their address in said areas that they will make people wished true and will form their own provinces.

    i don’t understand why all of those so called string pulling politicians act silent at forums like NA where they are supposed to endorse decisions in favor of people will….with due respect please at least give honest and truthful hopes to the people rather capitalizing on their vote bank by mingling their demands in your speeches and addresses.

    Voice of People of Pakistan is really needed to be heard by their very own elected representatives while they are pulling the power strings…Recommend

  • Ali Naqvi
    Dec 22, 2010 - 1:38AM

    Dear All,
    Enough for this Democracy and Capitalist devils.its over.People are looking for new system.A new Islamic System that is Khilafahat-e-rashida.Caliphate call is getting stronger and stronger day by day.People are calling and crying all over the world.Caliphate is the only system that is really can give solution to any problem and “mystery to solve” you have in your mind.Its Complete and it give solution because it is not “by the people,of people,for people”, it is the system of Islam and shariah and only laws from Quran are implemented.So nobody will be able to rob us from our wealth,nobody will always be able to take our pride and dignity for there thrust of money.
    We want Islam,We want Khilafah,We want Shariah.

    “Capitalism kills, kill capitalism”Recommend

  • Dec 22, 2010 - 4:34AM

    -

    Pakistan will surely progress with such cosmetic amendments. Waiting now for the 20th.Recommend

  • parvez
    Dec 22, 2010 - 12:39PM

    Democracy for a select few by a select few is not democracy its a joke.Recommend

  • Ahsan Khan
    Dec 22, 2010 - 2:31PM

    Any thing (law, act, amendment, constitution..) passed by the national assembly of Pakistan unanimously, is a bad sign of people of Pakistan. This unanimous passage shows that it is so good for the ruling class that even the opposition is happy The government will have more power to to rule the people for its (government) advantage.

    The constitution of Pakistan is the first example. In the name of Islam the rulers have been acting as representatives of God and not that of people.Recommend

  • MAD
    Dec 22, 2010 - 3:16PM

    @sardar Zaheer

    Your point is valid. there should be more provinces but not on ethnic grounds rather due to administrative reasons. there should be a Hazara province, Saraiki province and other provinces. Pakistan should have had atleast 10 provinces. this would have made government easier and encures that all provinces were equal with no one province being in a position to dominate the other. India has created several provinces why can we.Punjab can easily be split into 3 of 4,, Sindh into 2 or 3, KPK into 2. Baluchistan may also be split in 2 due to its large area although due to its low population it can be retained as a single province as well. either way this would make things more equal. unfortunately in our country this would mean more oversized cabinets and MPA’s.

    I only pray that someday a government of the people with only the interest of the country in its heart takes over and measures are taken to stabilize the nation.Recommend

  • Ali+Naqvi
    Dec 22, 2010 - 4:05PM

    Once winston churchil said that democarcy is the worst system one can have and we are looking at it now.Democracy is the bunch of loopholes in man made system.Its in human nature to take advantage of everything he has and it shows clearly that when a person comes into power, he’s gonna use it for its own benefit.its what is happening all over the worldbeing a muslim we must remember that there is no thing like democracy allowed in islam and it is totally haram.So people please leave this system and dont hope anything good from this man made system.
    We have alternative in the way of Caliphate system where only ALLAH(SWT) orders can be implemented and no one is allowed to play with ummah and its interest.So end democracy and do start reading and learning about khilafat(Caliphate)Recommend

  • Hassaan
    Dec 22, 2010 - 4:55PM

    Dear Pakistanis…..

    I have only one question to ask…… Is this amendment do any good to the people of Pakistan in terms of inflation, poverty and deprivation?

    Its just a fun game for the politician: Have they ever feel hunger or heat? or they have been living in their Air Conditioned Mansions fully furnished on the expense of our money, income and taxes.

    May Allah save us all from these devil’s envoys…….

    Good DayRecommend

  • Dec 22, 2010 - 8:21PM

    Congratulations- a great achievement and a step in the right direction. Lets hope its a win win situation for all institutions now and they can perform in the best interest of people.Recommend

  • Shabbir Bukhari
    Dec 22, 2010 - 11:05PM

    @Ali Naqvi

    Dear Naqvi you are mistaken that Khilafa is an Islamic system.Democracy is system that human being have developed after the the experimentation of thousand of years.Islam is just a faith while you are suggesting that it has a preordained political structure.There is no divine system that God wants to implement on the earth.Recommend

  • Noor
    Dec 23, 2010 - 2:29AM

    Congratulations. If nothing, the consensus shows that our political parties are serious in keeping the system intact. The people’s expectations are way higher, and there is not choice but to hope that democracy thrives in Pakistan. A special salam to Sen. Rabbani who has emerged as an undisputed leader of PPP.Recommend

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