NA passes 22nd Amendment
Motion authorises Speaker to form parliamentary committee on Panama Papers leaks
Islamabad—The National Assembly Thursday unanimously passed “The Constitution (Twenty-second Amendment) Bill, 2016” envisaging procedures for appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and the members of the ECP. It was moved by Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid.
Speaking on the bill, Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said it has been prepared in the light of deliberations and consensus recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms.
He said the amendment provides that a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a senior bureaucrat or a technocrat of not more than 68 years of age could be considered for appointment as Chief Election Commissioner.
The bill said in case there is no consensus between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition over appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner, both of them would send separate lists to the Parliamentary Committee for consideration. The Committee would approve one of them.
The Minister said the constitutional amendment also envisaged a retired judge of the High Court or a senior bureaucrat or a technocrat could be considered for appointment as an Election Commission member.
One member of the Commission would be taken from each province. As a onetime exercise two members of the commission shall stand retired after two and a half years while the other two would retire after the next two and a half years. 236 members cast their votes in favour of the bill and none against.
Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid and Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar said it is an historic occasion that the 22nd Amendment Constitution was passed unanimously. They thanked and congratulated all the parties and members of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms for creating consensus and passing the bill.
Zahid Hamid said electoral laws will soon be finalised by committee.
The house Thursday also adopted a motion authorizing the Speaker to constitute a Parliamentary Committee to prepare Terms of Reference (ToRs) for appropriate forum to probe into Panama Papers issue in consultation with the Chairman Senate, Leader of the Opposition and leaders of the parliamentary parties.
The motion was moved by Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid.
The motion said the committee will consider various options for inquiry into important issues raised in the controversy over Panama Papers and other reports in the media relating to offshore companies, transfer from Pakistan of funds originating from corruption, commissions or kickback, written off bank loans with priorities to determine by the committee and recommend the most appropriate such forums.
The committee will formulate the ToRs of such forum and determine the timeline for submission of the report.
The committee shall be constituted of eight nominees of government and eight from the opposition from both the Houses of Parliament. The committee will submit its report to Parliament within two weeks.
Earlier, Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah and Shah Mahmood Qureshi on points of order said during yesterday’s government and opposition meeting presided over by the Speaker, it was decided that the Parliamentary Committee ToRs will consist of twelve members, six each from Government and Opposition.
Asif Hasnain of MQM said without inclusion of MQM in the parliamentary committee, the committee will not be representative of the House.
Khawaja Saad Rafique said there are 25 members of MQM in the National Assembly sitting on opposition benches hence the party cannot be ignored. The chair said there is misunderstanding and miscommunication on the number of members of the committee.
Later, through an amendment, the number of members of the parliamentary committee on ToRs was reduced to twelve, comprising six each from the government and the opposition. The amendment was moved by Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid.