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Judges Appointment: Senate demands powers for 'toothless' committee

03 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Monday lamented that the Parliamentary Committee on Appointment of Superior Courts Judges has become powerless and asked for it to be made more effective.

The members of the Upper House of parliament said the panel has almost become toothless as the judicial council picks up judges without paying any heed to the recommendations of the panel. They said that the panel should be abolished if its decision have no worth. They claimed that the judicial council has a track record of taking unilateral decisions despite reservations of the parliamentary committee about candidacy of some judges who were nor eligible to become judge of the superior courts.

Speaking on a motion moved by Senator Farhatullah Babar about the appointment of judges in the superior courts the senators said that the committee should be made more effective and its decisions be respected. They regretted that the committee –consisting of eight members, four each from government and opposition – has been made dysfunctional, and called for convening a joint session of parliament to review and pass an act to address the issue.

However, leader of the House Raja Zafar Haq said there should be no conflict among the state institutions. He said persons of integrity should be appointed as judges of the superior courts. The House also approved moving of a bill seeking a bar on promotion to BPS-20 and above for bureaucrats holding dual nationality. The bill, which has been moved by ANP's Senator Ilyas Bilour, has sought amendment in the Civil Servants Act 1973 (LXXI of 1973), in Section 9, in Clause (1). "Provided further that a civil servant holding dual nationality or citizenship of any foreign country shall not be entitled for promotion to posts in Basic Pay Scale 20 or equivalent and above," stated the proposed bill.

However, the bill remains silent on the fate of the bureaucrats who hold dual nationality and are already in BPS-20 or above. This private member bill that was not opposed by the government, when becomes an act, shall be called Civil Servants (Amendment) Act 2013. The chairman sent the bill to the standing committee concerned directing it to present a report on it by next Monday (December 9). Speaking on the objectives and reasons for the bill, the senator said, "Senior civil bureaucracy must have their stakes in the country in which they hold positions of power, privileges and trust.

The Senate also decided to constitute a special committee which will deliberate upon growing water shortage in the country and give its recommendations to manage the fast-growing decrease in water level. After adopting a motion moved by Senator Mohsin Leghari on importance of water in national economy and steps to be taken by the government to address the growing scarcity of water in the country, Senate Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch directed leaders of the house and opposition to finalise the names of the members for the committee.

Legahri said that water scarcity in Pakistan has reached a level where urgent steps are needed to avert the alarming situation. He said that Pakistan is an agrarian economy, which depends solely on the availability of water. The senator expressed concern that India is constructing several dams on rivers that pass through Pakistan, which will make Pakistan barren.


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