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Bill to amend Article 140-A passed by NA body: Provincial govts asked to hold LB elections soon – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice, on Thursday, passed a bill to amend Article 140-A of the Constitution with minor amendments and recommended the provincial governments to hold local bodies election soon.

The meeting of the Standing Committee on Law and Justice was held under the chairmanship of Riaz Fatyana here, on Thursday, and discussed the bill to amend Article 140-A on local governments.

MNA Syed Javed Husnain said local bodies were not restored despite the Supreme Court orders.

He said that no government should keep local bodies inactive for more than two months.

A timeframe should be fixed in the Constitution for holding local bodies elections on National Assembly style, Husnain added.

Kishwer Zehra said that local bodies’ elections are held but the representatives do not get powers.

The elected local government representatives should have political and financial powers, said Zehra.

Fatyana said that there may be differences with Pervez Musharraf but his local government system was very good.

Musharraf’s system was so strong that even five National Assembly members resigned and became district nazims, Fatyana added.

Local bodies’ elections are a national issue and consensus is needed on the matter, said Nafisa Shah.

Dictators bring local government system but democratic governments do not give importance to the local government, she added.

Article 140 must have an empowered local government system, said Nafisa Shah, adding that political parties have to work together to find a solution.

The Election Commission proposed an amendment to hold elections in four months instead of two.

Four months are required for training and preparation of election staff, said secretary Election Commission.

The issue of powers is beyond their jurisdiction, said secretary Election Commission, adding the constitution has already set a time for local bodies’ elections.

The secretary Ministry of Law said that Article 140-A defines local government powers.

There is no need to amend the Constitution as time and powers are clear, said the secretary law.

Qadir Mandokhel said there are indications of tampering with the 18th Amendment.

The issue of powers in political parties should be discussed and resolved, Mandokhel added.

Lal Chand said the real issue is implementation. The constitution is clear but no province is holding elections, Chand added.

The Standing Committee passed the bill to amend Article 140-A of the Constitution with minor amendments. Local elections will have to be held in four months on expiration of term or premature dissolution. If the provincial governments want to bring a new local government law, they will have to bring it one year before the elections.

The Committee considered the bill, “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Article 140-A)”, moved by Syed Javed Husnain, MNA.

After detailed deliberations, the committee recommended that the bill may be passed by the National Assembly with amendments as recommended by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The committee considered the bill, “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Article 140-A)”, moved by Kishwer Zehra, MNA.

After detailed deliberations, the committee recommended that the bill may be passed by the National Assembly.

The committee did not consider the bills, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Article-36) moved by Kesoo Mal Khel Das, MNA, and The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Article-59) moved by Jai Parkash, MNA, due to non-availability of the movers.

The committee deferred the same till its next meeting as requested by the movers.

The committee considered the bill, The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Section 2) moved by Qadir Khan Mandokhail, MNA.

After detailed deliberations, the committee deferred the same till its next meeting with recommendation to seek views of all bar councils on the given subject.

The committee considered the bill, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Article 185(4) moved by Syed Javed Husnain, MNA.

After detailed deliberations, the committee recommended that the bill as amended may be passed by the National Assembly.

Under the bill, the Supreme Court will decide on the appeals of death row inmates within six months.

Death row inmates will be able to appeal directly against the High Court decision to the Supreme Court.

After the amendment, death row inmates will not have to go through the process of approving an appeal hearing.

“Personally, I am against the death penalty,” said the committee chairman.

The committee considered the bill, The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Article 185(3), moved by Syed Javed Husnain, MNA.

After detail deliberations, the mover desired to withdraw the same, hence, the committee recommended that the bill may not be passed by the National Assembly.

Members/MNAs/movers Atta Ullah, Lal Chand, Muhammad Farooq Azam Malik, Kishwar Zehra, Chaudhary Mehmood Bashir Virk, Usman Ibraheem, Qadir Khan Mandokhail, Nafisa Shah, Aliya Kamran, and Syed Javed Hasnain besides the secretary Ministry of Law and Justice, secretary ECP along with their staff attended the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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