ISLAMABAD - A PPP lawmaker yesterday at once withdrew the National Command Authority (NCA) Amendment Bill from the Senate that sought to bar the PM from transferring some of the functions of the authority, having powers of complete command and control over the country’s nuclear assets, to any individual or institution.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar withdrew his proposed National Command Authority (NCA) Amendment Bill, 2015 on a private members’ day saying he was compelled to do so after a number of stakeholders had shown their reservations over it. The bill seeks amendments to the National Command Authority (NCA) Act, 2010.

“Ever since I submitted the bill till today a number of stakeholders through different means and with differing emphasis had expressed serious reservations and concerns about some aspects of the bill creating an extraordinary situation for me to withdraw the same for broader consultation and discussion,” Babar said. He, however, did not elaborate on the extraordinary situation that persuaded him to withdraw the proposed legislation.

The aborted bill sought to bar the Prime Minister, the Chairman of NCA and the Authority from transferring some of its functions to any individual or institution.

The statement of reasons and objects of the bill says that NCA has a Board of Governors headed by the Prime Minister and comprising virtually all important members of the civil and military establishment. “Its important function is to exercise complete command and control over all nuclear and space related technologies, systems...this is an onerous and most sensitive responsibility that must be exercised by the Authority and the Authority alone. Delegating this onerous power and responsibility to any other individual is fraught with serious consequences and must not be allowed.”

The statement says that the provision in the existing law contained in section 4 namely delegating any of these powers and functions to Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Director General (DG) Strategic Plans Division (SPD) who may further sub-delegate the same to any employee will have very serious consequences and should not be allowed, hence this amendment.

“It is also necessary that the post of DG Strategic Plans Division should be rotated among officers of all the three defence services as well as the civil service so as to attract the best of the best from a huge reservoir of distinguished officers in both the civil and armed forces. Restricting it to only one service is not the best way to attract the best officer for this important position,” it further says.

The house also unanimously passed that Domestic Workers (Employment) Rights) Bill, 2015 moved by Senator Osman Saifullah of PPP. The bill is aimed at improving the working conditions of domestic workers in Pakistan. It regulates the terms and conditions of employment of domestic workers to ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity. The proposed law says that the worker will sign an employment contract with his/her employer and its working hours will be restricted to eight hours and he/she will get pay under the Minimum Wages Ordinance.

The chair sent the two other bills, the Contempt of Court (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to the standing committee on law and justice. Senator Farhatullah Babar had moved these two bills.

The Contempt of Court (Amendment) Bill provides for the punishment of imprisonment and fine in case of criminal and judicial contempt and for fine only in case of civil contempt.

According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, the dignity of a judge and courts must rest more on the conduct of honourable judges, the soundness of their verdicts rather than resorting to the contempt of court law. It says that dignity of a courts that is seen to be resting merely on resort to the contempt law is said be resting on fragile foundations

The NACTA Amendment Bill proposes to delete the provision of meeting of NACTA Board of Governors within 90 days. The Executive Council which is the implementing body should be required to meet at regular intervals but in the existing law there is no mention of how often it should meet, the law says and adds: “There is thus a lacunae which the amendment seeks to remove by binding the Executive Council to meet at any time but necessarily once in a quarter and the BoG to meet as and when required and at least once in a year.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman moved the Representation of the People Act, 1976 in the house what she said the proposed law would guarantee all women the right to vote as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan. It was also sent to the committee.