Pak finalises constitutional amendment bill for cabinet approval

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Islamabad, May 21 (UNI) Pakistani Law Minister Farooq H Naek has finalised the draft of the proposed 18th Constitution Amendment Bill and it will soon be presented to the cabinet of ministers for approval.

The bill when approved would pave the way for reinstating the judges, who were sacked after proclamation of emergency by President Pervez Musharraf on November 3, 2007, as well as balancing the power equation between the president and the prime minister.

''I spent the day in my office to give a final shape to the proposed amendments and will be visiting PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari soon to get a final approval to the draft,'' Dawn newspaper quoted Naek as saying today.

He said the draft containing a long list of amendments to substitute many existing provisions would be tabled in the National Assembly.

The PPP has convened a meeting of its Central Executive Committee in Islamabad on May 24 to take its members into confidence on the issue.

National Assembly session is also expected to be convened as early as May 26 for tabling the bill. However, the law minister said no date has been fixed so far.

The constitutional package included repealing Article 58(2) (b) of the Constitution that empowered the president to dissolve the National Assembly.

Article 6 (high treason) and other relevant acts were also likely to be drastically amended to punish the judges validating military takeovers and taking oath of allegiance to military regimes in future.

Under the proposed package, the president would lose the power to appoint chiefs of the army and other services and the chief election commissioner.

UNI XC ARB KN1146

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