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19th Amendment Bill enacted

Bill becomes part of Constitution as President affixes his signature
Political actors suffering defeat, says President
Staff Reporter/ Agencies
KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday gave his formal assent to the 19th Amendment Bill, making it a part of the Constitution, and said that the approval of 19th amendment is democratic gift of New Year adding political actors have tried to sell negative thinking and they are now suffering defeat.
In the second amendment to the constitution in less than a year, the amendment envisages a new system for appointments in the superior courts, aimed at settling a potential source of discord between the judiciary and the parliament.
The bill was drafted by the 26-member Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms, which also authored the landmark 18th Amendment that introduced a parliamentary role in top judicial appointments and was unanimously adopted by both houses of parliament in April.
The amendment envisages a new system for appointments in the superior courts, aimed at settling a potential source of discord between the judiciary and the parliament.
Before the bill was sent to the President for formal assent, it was unanimously passed by the Senate and a two-third majority by the National Assembly.
Under the amendment, the number of senior judges as members of the Judicial Commission has been raised to four while the number of members of the parliamentary committee for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner has also been increased to 12.
The Chief Justice of Pakistan will make recommendations for the appointment of ad hoc judges in the superior courts in consultation with the Judicial Commission.
In case of dissolution of the National Assembly, the members of the parliamentary committee will be from the Senate only.
The amendment also provides permission for administrative and financial expenses of the Islamabad High Court. It also makes essential for the members of the bar council to have at least 15 years of experience for appointment to the Judicial Council.
President while addressing the gathering on the occasion said, “Law and lawyers were used against MQM, PPP and other parties. But we did not keep in view these things. Political actors are suffering defeat.”
Certain elements tried to sell negative view point like agro products, he said adding they were of the view clash would take place among the institutions and political parties would not become able to forge harmony among them. But it did not happen so, he held.
Amendments had been introduced in the constitution earlier but they could not work, he underlined. 1973 constitution was acceptable to all because it was consensus constitution. The 18th and 19th amendments were also consensus amendments, he held.
“I ask the friends not to stay in headlines and keep the look on history. We are keeping look at history. We have to write a lesson for coming generations and show them path. I salute to judiciary. We have always honored courts. We have kept rule of law supreme”, president underscored.
“We have taken Pakistan ahead in hard times. We will take along all parties in the years ahead. If any thing will not be acceptable to any party we will not allow it to be bulldozed. Despite being in majority we will try consensus is developed and all the parties go alongside us”, he remarked.
Chairman Senate Farooq H Naik, Speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza, Governor Sindh Ishrat-ul Ebad, Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah, Law Minister Babar Awan, Senator Raza Rabbani, provincial minister, MQM leaders and others attended the ceremony.


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