Nawaz isolated as reform committee stands its ground By Ahmad Hassan
Dawn, 27 Mar, 2010
ISLAMABAD: The parliamentary committee on constitutional reforms rejected on Friday a proposal by Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif for Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to discuss with the chief justice of Pakistan proposed amendment to the Constitution pertaining to appointment of superior court judges.
The 26-member panel recognised the renaming of the NWFP as the only matter pending for incorporation into the draft of the 18th amendment and put off its deliberations till Wednesday after the PML-N sought more time to settle the issue with the Awami National Party.
According to sources, the committee decided to take an initiative in this regard if the two parties failed to resolve the issue.
The chairman of the committee, Mian Raza Rabbani, expressed his determination to protect the constitutional reforms proposed by representatives of the people.
Haji Mohammad Adeel of the ANP likened PML-N’s U-turn to a drone attack on the committee.
A majority of members were of the view that although the Supreme Court could interpret the Constitution, the lawmaking and amending the Constitution were the prerogative of parliament. They said involvement of the judiciary or any of its members in the process would be tantamount to breach of parliament’s privilege.
Deviating from their earlier stand, PML-N’s representatives proposed in a note of dissent that the chief justice should appoint a retired judge of the Supreme Court as a member of the judicial commission. The committee had earlier agreed that the commission would appoint a retired judge of apex court as its seventh member and proposed an amendment to Article 177 of the Constitution for the purpose.
The PML-N chief appeared isolated and even representatives of his party did not challenge the criticism of his sudden change of mind which had disrupted the planned signing of the constitutional document and presentation of the 18th amendment bill in parliament.
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