NA passes 19th amendment bill

The National Assembly on Wednesday passed 19th amendment bill with 258 votes in favour and one in against. Comprising of seven clauses, the bill mainly deals with appointmentof judges, addition of four-member senior judges of judicial commission and addition of Islamabad High Court in the list of higher judiciary. When the bill was presented in the National Assembly for consideration the Chairman of Parliamentary Committee Raza Rabbani moved a motion in the House requesting that the rules be dispensed with in order to take into consideration the 19th amendment bill 2010. The Speaker after taking census of the House dispensed the rules for consideration of the bill. The House passed the bill through division of votes made to determine the actual number of votes in favour and against the amendment. The bill was approved by 258 votes in favour. Only one member cast vote in against. When the bill was presented in the House for consideration a total 239 members voted in favour of the bill, while PML-Q Kashmala Tariq voted in against. However, during the clause by clause reading Kashmala Tariq opposed none of the clause of the bill. Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee while elaborating the 19th amendment bill said that the Supreme Court of Pakistan passed an order dated October 21 in various constitution petitions challenging certain amendments, including Article 175A, made in the constitution through the Constitution 18th amendment Act, 2010. He said the apex court in its order made a reference to the parliament for reconsideration of the provisions of Articles 175A in the light of the observations made in the said order. He said the committee went in Supreme Court’s order in details on number of occasions and each reservation of Supreme Court was reconsidered.
He said the bill gives effect to certain amendments in the Constitution after giving consideration to the observations of the Supreme Court and matter incidental or ancillary thereto or otherwise deemed necessary. 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 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, he added. According to 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. He said this is a unique moment in this political history of the country that two very important constitutional bills are being presented unanimously in the House in 2010”. He said the top political leadership has 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 and 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. While complimenting the role of members of constitutionals reforms committee and all political parties, he said that no dissent note was surfaced in the 19th amendment. He said all the political parties also showed political sagacity and reached at unanimous consensus for national interests. He said that all the constitutional organizations are functioning in their constitutional domain and political system is strengthening day by day. Later, the Speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza held voting on the bill and declared that 258 members voted in favour of the bill and one against it. – App