ISLAMABAD: Without paying attention to the continuing criticism against the government for carrying out the legislation through presidential ordinances, the law ministry has sent another summary to the federal cabinet to obtain the approval of six more ordinances, Dawn has learned
Through the summary, the law ministry informed the federal cabinet that it had already "prepared" six ordinances and suggested that "taking into account the urgency involved," these ordinances "are proposed to promulgate immediately."
The ordinances, according to the communication of the law ministry, have been pending before several committees of the National Assembly in the form of long-standing bills.
“As the legislative process will take considerable time, it is suggested that the bills…. perhaps enacted as ordinances, "writes the law ministry in its summary to the federal cabinet, which is expected to meet on October 16.
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The six ordinances proposed are the following: the Administration Letter and the Succession Certificate Ordinance 2019; the Ordinance on the enforcement of women's property rights of 2019; the Benami Transaction Ordinance (ban) (modification) of 2019; Ordinance (Repeal) of the Order of the Superior Courts (Court attire and domicile mode) 2019 the National Accountability Ordinance (Amendment) of 2019 and the Ordinance of the Legal Assistance and Justice Authority of 2019.
“To initiate legal reforms, the federal government formed a working group under the presidency of the minister of law and justice [Barrister Farogh Nasim] propose laws with the main objective of alleviating the difficulties of the people of Pakistan. In order to ensure and promote the rights of people, particularly women, this working group recommended new laws for the protection of women's property rights, the establishment of a legal assistance mechanism for the poor and vulnerable and a mechanism for the issuance of certificates of succession by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) ", states the summary of the law ministry arguing in support of its recommendations for the early approval of the ordinances.
“In addition, the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan empowers the higher courts of Pakistan, that is, the Supreme Court and the High Court to regulate their own practice and procedures. Therefore, it is proposed that the law regulating the dress and manner of domicile of the court be repealed, thus allowing the superior courts to decide on the appropriate dress code and the way in which the defenders must behave in a court of law "says the summary while seeking support for ordinances related to judicial reforms.
The law ministry says it has prepared two ordinances aimed at exposing Benami's transactions and dealing with people arrested under the National Responsibility Ordinance, 1999.
He says the recommendations are being made in the light of the directives of the federal cabinet in which the law minister has been directed to "examine and recommend the best course for the enactment of previous bills related to matters of public interest" .
Opposition of red face
The current coalition government led by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has already submitted 11 ordinances to the National Assembly, while two more ordinances were promulgated earlier this month regarding the creation of a CPEC Authority and the concession of tax concessions to the port of Gwadar. In addition to this, the government had also introduced a controversial amnesty plan through an ordinance, which it withdrew after the conviction of all parties.
The government has faced criticism from the opposition, legal experts and civil society organizations for circumventing parliament and relying on ordinances to carry out legislation since taking office.
Opposition parties even organized a Senate strike last month when the government tried to present some of the ordinances before the House. The issue was also addressed by the Senate Parliamentary Affairs Standing Committee, headed by the senator of the Popular Party of Pakistan (PPP), Sassui Palejo, last week.
However, opposition lawmakers who were agitating government attempts to "govern by ordinances" were left with a red face when an official with the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs revealed that 26 ordinances had been enacted each year on average during the last decade when the Pakistan-Nawaz Muslim League (PML-N) and the PPP had been in power.
Currently, a total of 127 bills, including 102 bills of private members, have been pending before several committees of the National Assembly. The opposition alleges that the pendency of such a large number of bills is also due to the controversial directives issued by the president of the National Assembly, Asad Qaiser, that committees can only meet when the camera is in session. He had issued these instructions in July as part of the government's austerity measures.
Posted on Dawn, October 13, 2019