Cabinet approves 'Contempt of Court Bill 2012'
05 July, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Wednesday approved the Contempt of Court Bill, 2012, which envisages immunity from contempt of court proceedings for the president, prime minister, ministers and chief ministers, under Article 284-1 of the constitution.
The draft bill will now be introduced in either house of parliament. It enlarges the scope of the right to appeal, and incorporates other necessary provisions relevant to contempt proceedings. According to a private TV channel, the government seeks to abolish the contempt of court ordinance and replace it with new legislation. It also reported that the draft bill also states that criticism of court orders if made in appropriate language would not amount to contempt of court.
The cabinet also unanimously endorsed the decision of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) for reopening of Ground Lines of Communication, commonly known as NATO supplies, to and from Afghanistan. It also accorded approval to a key piece of legislation on overseas Pakistanis in the form of a draft bill tabled by the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis, which proposed amendment in Article 63(1)(C) of the constitution to enable the overseas Pakistanis having dual nationality to contest election for the membership of parliament.
Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who chaired the cabinet meeting, in his opening remarks said the US will have to respect Pakistan's sovereignty in order to further a relationship that is enduring, strategic and carefully defined for peace and security in the region. He said that in view of the two sides' larger objective of peace and stability in Afghanistan and the whole region and Pakistan's cooperative relations with the 50 member states of NATO/ISAF, the government would facilitate the transition process in Afghanistan to enable its national institutions to meet the challenges they are facing.
Water and Power Division secretary updated the cabinet on the overall energy situation in the country. He informed that for the last 10 days, the average electricity generation in the country had been 12,500MW, with a shortfall of more than 5,000MW. With the enhanced supply of oil and gas, and melting of glaciers, the daily production of electricity will increase to 13,500MW shortly, he said. The cabinet was informed that the Energy Committee would meet regularly to closely monitor the electricity situation in the country. The meeting reviewed the implementation status of cabinet decisions pertaining to Commerce Division.
Briefing media after the meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said the reopening of NATO supplies was not a question of victory or defeat but the issue of the country's principled stand on Salala attack, which has been accepted by the US. He said that Pakistan's stance was that being a frontline state in fight against terrorism, the country had suffered the most and had lost thousands of its soldiers and citizens. "Our demand was that NATO should accept their mistake and should tender apology which has been accepted," he said.
Kaira said the US has also changed its stated position and tendered apology over Salala incident and the unfortunate situation has been rectified now, which is in the interest of Pakistan, Afghanistan, NATO and International Security Assistance Forces. He said Pakistan has reiterated its stance on drone attacks and has been assured that in future the country's sovereignty would be respected. The minister said the attack on Salala border post was an excess with Pakistan, however, "we don't want to bring anyone to their knees".