Before lifting Emergency, Musharraf to amend Constitution

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Islamabad, Dec 12 (UNI) Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf is all set to issue three orders on Saturday or Sunday to lift the state of Emergency and revive the Constitution, but not before making several amendments to the basic document through his special PCO powers.

Legal experts in the Law Ministry had drafted relevant orders, which were cleared by the authorities concerned and would be submitted to the President for his approval after further vetting, The News quoted highly placed sources as saying.

The first order would pertain to Constitutional amendments, which have already been discussed at the highest level and approved by Constitutional experts.

The amendments would incorporate the establishment of a federal court in Islamabad to streamline the system pertaining to the superior Judiciary.

The president, who has been vested with the authority to amend the Constitution through the proclamation orders issued by the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) on November 3, would be issuing such an order for the last time.

The amendment to the Constitution would bring about a change in the basic structure of the document that provides the basis for governing the country and would affect the judicial system of the country, sources said.

The second order, promulgated by the president, would deal with the revocation of the Emergency order of November 3.

The third order would provide the revival of the Constitution that was put in abeyance after the Emergency, but the restoration would come into effect with amendments.

These three orders would lead to rivival of the basic human rights and restoration of powers of the Judiciary, the sources said, adding, however, the superior Judiciary that came into being after the imposition of the emergency rule would stay.

It has been discussed at the political level that the National Reconciliation Order (NRO) of October last would be given protection through fresh legislation and would get a constitutional cover so that the same could not be challenged in any court of law. This would remove all apprehensions pertaining to the NRO and boost the morale of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

With the issuance of the three orders, the president would be deprived of his powers to bring about any further changes in the Constitution and would also lose authority with regard to the administration unless he changes the character of the parliamentary system through another constitutional amendment.

Attorney General Justice (retd) Malik Muhammad Qayyum, who is the architect of the revival of the Constitution, was not available for comments on the situation, having left for the Untied Arab Emirates (UAE) recently.

The three orders will bring to an end the 42-day-old extraordinary situation in the country but it would invite an extremely harsh reaction from the bar, former members of the bench, civil society and the political leadership.

UNI

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