ISLAMABAD - The PTI’s government on Friday managed to get The Election (amendment) Ordinance 2019, passed with the aim to increase number of judges in the Islamabad High Court for speedy justice.

The government with majority of vote enabled to get it passed after facing a stiff resistance from the opposition. The opposition blamed the government for conducting the legislation in haste ignoring the rules and procedures of business.

The statement of objects and reasons of ‘The Islamabad High Court (amendment), 2019’, says the Islamabad High Court established under the Islamabad High Court Act, 2010 became functional in January 2011.

“According to the act, the numbers of judges are only six but due to the large number of cases and for the sake of speedy justice the number of judges in Islamabad High Court shall be enhanced up to ten. It is proposed through this amendment all provinces and federating units may be given representation in the Islamabad High Court,” it said.

PML-N’ senior lawmaker Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, raising objection over the bill, said that there was no need of passing this bill as the proper quota was not entertained. 

“Government side has no proper reasons to increase the number of judges in this area...Judges should be increased as per the population of the area,” said Abbasi, mentioning these judges could also become chief Justice in future so proper criteria should be adopted.

PML-N’s Rana Saana Ullah said that the government side should avoid bulldozing the bill in haste and get it passed after listening to the dissenting note of opposition.

Another opposition member from opposition (PPP-P) Naveed Qamar said that the government should not bulldoze the bill without listening to the opposition point of view. “Parliament is mother of all institutions...Legislation should be transparent,” said Qamar mentioning that there was no need of increasing the number at this area.

PPP-P’s Nafeesa Shah was of the view that the government side should adopt rational approach before increasing the number of judges. “This legislation is tantamount to taking advantage of majority as there was no need of increasing the number of judges from this area,” said PPP-P’s MNA.

Whereas Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Malaika Bokhari said that increase in the number of judges would help making speedy justice in the country. “It is the wish of people of Pakistan to increase number of judges for speedy justice,” said Bokhari.

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said that the standing committee of law and justice after thoroughly discussing the different clauses of the bill passed it. “All the necessary steps have been taken to get it passed from the house,” she said.

The chair after listening to the arguments from both sides, taking the sense of the house passed the bill and immediately prorogued the house.

Earlier, PPP-P’s Raja Pervaiz Ashraf strongly criticised Minister Murad Saeed for targeting Asif Ali Zardari in his speech. “This kind of attacks will create problems for you [the chair] to run the house smoothly as the government side should avoid it,” he said.

The house, on the last day of 7th National Assembly session, saw thin presence as once the speaker has to suspend the house for over 20 minutes due to lack of quorum. The lack of strength was pointed PPP-P’s Naveed Qamar.

The house also adopted a motion for the establishment of Standing Committees of the House. The motion, moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, authorises the speaker to include any member and make changes in the composition of these committees.

ECP restores six more MPs

APP adds: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) Friday restored the membership of another six parliamentarians and allowed them to function as members of National Assembly (NA) and provincial assemblies on submission of their statements of assets and liabilities to it.

 According to an ECP official, the parliamentarians, who were suspended over non-submission of their assets details, had now filed their statements of assets and liabilities, and fulfilled the legal requirement in conformance with the relevant election laws.

 It is to be mentioned here that ECP had suspended the membership of 332 parliamentarians for non-submission of their statements of assets and liabilities.

The Election Rules, 2017 provide that every member of an assembly and Senate would submit to the ECP on or before December 1st each year, a copy of his statement of assets and liabilities, including assets and liabilities of his spouse and dependent children, as on 30th day of June on Form B.

The election rules also provide that the Commission on 16th day of January, by an order, suspend the membership of a member of an assembly and Senate who fails to submit the statement of assets and liabilities by 15th day of January and such member will cease to function till he or she files the statement of assets and liabilities.