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ISLAMABAD: The federal government laid six presidential ordinances in the Upper House of the Parliament on Wednesday including International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Ordinance, 2020, which deals with sentence awarded by the ICJ to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav last year.

During Senate session, Law Minister Farogh Naseem laid the said ordinance. This move attracted the ire of opposition benches.

"Constitution upholds Parliament as supreme. This Parliament took historical decisions like formulation of 1973 constitution but what has happened to the Parliament now? The presidential ordinances have been promulgated one after another while completely bypassing the Parliament," said senior Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader and former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani while speaking on the floor of the House.

"The person for whom this ordinance came was and is an Indian terrorist and a spy. An ordinance has arrived to bail him out. International imperialist powers are pulling the strings to dictate us. They are influencing our policies and meddling in our affairs," Rabbani added.

Responding to the PPP senator, the law minister said "Are you saying, shouldn't we accept the decision of ICJ, sir? If that's what you are saying and you really mean it sir then I have no words to say and I will sit down. But if you are not saying this then I don't understand what you are saying?"

The law minister said the ICJ's decision regarding Indian spy was "80 to 90 per cent in Pakistan's favour. The remaining 20 per cent, I won't say it's against Pakistan. The ICJ asked us to bring law for review and reconsideration (regarding sentence handed to Indian spy) and ICJ has left to Pakistan's choosing how to go about review and reconsideration," he said.

Naseem said FATF (Financial Action Task Force) requirements are applicable not only on Pakistan but also on all other countries.

Javed Abbasi from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) criticized the Presidency for repeatedly promulgating ordinances. "The way ordinances on highly controversial issues are arriving from Presidency, it has undermined the dignity of the office of the President of Pakistan," he said adding that the federal government has sidelined the Parliament by solely relying on presidential ordinances instead of focusing on parliamentary legislation on crucial issues.

Abdul Ghafoor Haideri from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) said bringing an ordinances to "bail out" Indian spy ahead of August 5 was tantamount to "rubbing salt on the wounds of people of Indian Occupied Kashmir." He said "last year on August 5, the Indian parliament deprived the IOK of its autonomous status and Indian government then imposed a curfew and lockdown across IOK to suppress resistance. This ordinance is an insult to the sacrifices rendered by Kashmiris."

Already laid in the National Assembly, The International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Ordinance, 2020, aims to give 'full effect' to last year's judgement of ICJ regarding the Indian spy.

"In order to give full effect to the said judgement, it is necessary that a mechanism for review and reconsideration of Pakistan's own choice has to be provided. This can be done by law only, therefore, the bill is designed to achieve the aforesaid objective," according to statement of objects and reasons of the ordinance.

India initiated proceedings against Pakistan in ICJ, concerning alleged violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963 in the matter of detention and trial of Jadhav, the Indian spy, who had been sentenced to death by a military court of Pakistan in April 2017. The spy was India's RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) operative, who facilitated numerous acts of terrorism in Pakistan, which resulted in the killings of countless innocent citizens of Pakistan.

The ICJ gave its judgement on July 17, 2019, wherein it observed, "Pakistan is under an obligation to provide, by means of its own choosing, effective review and reconsideration of the conviction and sentence of Mr Jadhav, so as to ensure that full weight is given to the effect of the violation of the rights set forth in Article 36 of the Vienna Convention, taking account of paragraphs 139, 145 and 146 of the judgement."

Meanwhile, the other five ordinances that were laid in the House are: Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, Public Private Partnership Authority (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, Corporate Restructuring Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 and Companies (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2020.

The reports of the Senate standing committees concerned on The National Highways Safety (Amendment) Bill, 2020, poor performance of Pakistan in sports like Hockey, Cricket, Squash, Snooker, Athletics and Boxing at international level, and issues related to water pollution, air pollution, municipal waste, hospital waste disposal, cleanliness, selection of garbage dumping sites and recycling of garbage in Islamabad were presented in the House. The Senate would meet again today (Thursday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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