ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) parliamentary leader in Senate Sherry Rehman on Thursday said that despite National Assembly being in session, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Ordinance is yet to be laid in parliament, which is a blatant violation of constitution.
Talking to journalists here, she elaborated that according to constitution, a Presidential Ordinance should be laid in the House during the parliamentary session, but the government is paying no heed to the constitutional obligations.
“The Presidency has become an ordinance factory and the government is hell-bent upon destroying the state institutions e.g. HEC and State Bank of Pakistan – one after the other – ordinances that alter the nature of public institutions are being promulgated without recourse to constitutional mandatory obligations to bring them to parliament,” she regretted.
She said that HEC is being stripped of its autonomy to become the handmaiden of the government while the other is being given the kind of “autonomy” that makes it above all parliamentary oversight of Pakistan.
Under the Second HEC Amendment Ordinance 2021, she added, the term of the HEC chairman has been changed to two-year against the existing four years which is an attack on HEC’s autonomy.
Sherry continued that the power to pass an executive ordinance is vested with the President through Article 89 of the constitution only for emergency purposes and if any of the two houses of the parliament are not in session but the government has made presidential ordinances their preferred route for law-making.
“The government is constantly issuing ordinances and bypassing the parliament. State institutions are being destroyed by the government and cronies are being awarded with plum institutional offices in complete disregard of rules, quality or merit, removing all remnants of oversight and institutional integrity,” she regretted.
She said that the country is being run on ordinances, and the parliament is being kept in the dark and no one knows what’s going on, adding no ordinance is being laid in the house for discussion which is a matter of grave concern as it is a flagrant violation of the constitution. “On several key issues they promulgated over 55 ordinances so far, such as even the Pakistan Medical Dental Council (PMDC) which stands destroyed,” she added. “The president’s powers of making ordinances are confined to emergencies which require immediate legislation and which arise when the Assembly is not in session,” she added.
She said that PPP strongly condemns government’s unconstitutional behaviour as they are going way above the law as HEC, PTDC, PIA, Steel Mills and PMDC are all examples of government’s incompetence.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021