ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly is likely to witness pandemonium when it resumes its session today as government is determined to table the proposed contempt of court and dual nationality bills in the house.

The upper house of the parliament would also be meeting the same evening where the ruling coalition is having a comfortable strength for passage of any bill.

Sources in the ruling coalition informed The Nation that coalition partners, the Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), had come up with strong opposition to the proposed dual nationality bill and the leadership of both these parties complained that they were not taken on board in this matter well in time while the draft bill was forced through the federal cabinet meeting.

Both ANP and PML-F conditionally agreed to support the bill and had proposed a number of changes in the draft which the ruling PPP had accepted as President Asif Ali Zardari, in a coalition partners meeting a few days ago, had directed the federal law minister to incorporate their proposed changes.

The main change both these parties wanted in the draft bill was that the person having dual nationality would be allowed to contest the elections but before taking oath as member parliament he should have to renounce the other nationality.

Sources in the PPP informed that as the PPP was constrained to depend on the coalition partners and they would also be require support of some opposition parties as well to get the dual nationality bill passed from the national assembly.

Keeping in mind their vulnerable position in the NA the PPP would not take the risk of pushing this bill right now and would just lay it in the house from where it would be referred to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice for vetting. In the meantime the government would try to evolve consensus on it or at least muster two-thirds strength to get it passed. Therefore, some leaders of the ruling coalition are now saying they want to evolve consensus for which they would also talk to the opposition parties.

Another piece of legislation regarding an independent accountability system is pending with the Standing Committee on Law and Justice for well over four years as ruling coalition and main opposition PML-N failed to evolve consensus on it.

But the contempt of court bill, aimed at bringing changes in the contempt of court law, could be easily passed from the NA as it would require simple majority; moreover, no coalition partner was averse to this law, which would exempt prime minister, federal ministers, chief ministers and state ministers from contempt proceedings over their remarks against judges. At the same time it would enable the lawmakers to criticise the judgments and the demeanour of the judges in public. In addition, it proposes extending the period of filing an appeal against contempt verdict from one month to 60 days.

Opposition parties, particularly the PML-N has said it will do whatever it takes to stop this ‘anti-judiciary bill’. And Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chahudhry Saturday explicitly indicated that the apex court would strike down ‘any law repugnant to the constitution’. Without mincing words, he declared that no compromise could be made on the independence of judiciary, and that constitution, not the parliament, was the supreme entity. “For committing contempt of court the chief executive (Yousuf Raza Gilani) had to lose his office upon the court verdict,” he said while addressing a lawyers’ ceremony in Karachi.

Political observers said the PPP was actually attempting to gag the superior judiciary or making an attempt to entangle the superior judiciary in another controversy, but things were not as simple as they seemed because the vibrant civil society, lawyers fraternity and main stream political parties in opposition were all standing behind the independent judiciary.