Pak­istan Na­tional Assem­bly passes 19th amend­ment bill

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

IS­LAM­ABAD: The Na­tional Assem­bly on Wed­nes­day unan­i­mously adopted the 19th Amend­ment Bill. Un­der the amend­ment, the Prime Min­is­ter will now have a say on the is­sue of judges' ap­point­ment, while the num­ber of judges in the Ju­di­cial Com­mis­sion has also been in­creased from two to four.

The bill is aimed to give ef­fect to changes made in light of rec­om­men­da­tions by the Supreme Court in an Oc­to­ber 21 or­der af­ter hear­ing chal­lenges to the par­lia­ment's role in ap­point­ing judges of the apex court and high courts as set in the land­mark 18th Amend­ment passed in April.

Ma­jor amend­ments pro­posed in the bill in­clude one in­creas­ing the strength of a ju­di­cial com­mis­sion headed by the Supreme Court chief jus­tice, which must pro­pose the names for ap­point­ments, from ex­ist­ing seven to nine - in­clud­ing four, rather than two, se­nior-most judges of the apex court be­sides a for­mer judge of the court to be named by the chief jus­tice - and fix­ing a min­i­mum of 15 years' ex­pe­ri­ence for a lawyer to be nom­i­nated on the body by the Pak­istan Bar Coun­cil, be­sides the fed­eral law min­is­ter and the at­tor­ney gen­eral.

Com­mit­tee that must fi­nally ap­prove the ap­point­ment of judges would hold its meet­ings in cam­era, send its ap­proval or re­jec­tion of a nom­i­na­tion to the prime min­is­ter in­stead of the pres­i­dent, who must fi­nally no­tify an ap­point­ment - and that it would be ex­empted from a bar on dis­cussing the con­duct of judges in par­lia­ment.

Ear­lier, the fed­eral cabi­net ap­proved the draft of the 19th Amend­ment Bill, af­ter which it was pre­sented in the Na­tional Assem­bly for clause-by-clause vot­ing. Mean­while, Pak­istani po­lice on Wed­nes­day ar­rested two se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers in court for al­leged dere­lic­tion of duty over the 2007 as­sas­si­na­tion of for­mer prime min­is­ter Be­nazir Bhutto, a pros­e­cu­tor said. Bhutto was as­sas­si­nated al­most ex­actly three years ago in a gun and sui­cide at­tack af­ter ad­dress­ing an elec­tion cam­paign rally in the gar­ri­son city of Rawalpindi, near the cap­i­tal Is­lam­abad, on De­cem­ber 27, 2007.

In April, a UN panel ac­cused the govern­ment of fail­ing to pro­vide Bhutto with ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion and said in­ves­ti­ga­tions were ham­pered by in­tel­li­gence agen­cies and other of­fi­cials who im­peded "an un­fet­tered search for the truth". -PB News

IS­TAN­BUL: Gover­nor Is­tan­bul Huseyin Anvi Mutlu re­ceiv­ing Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zar­dari on his ar­rival at At­taturk In­ter­na­tional Air­port. -App

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