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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel decided on Wednesday to hold public hearings in order to get the opinion of the masses for creation of new provinces including South Punjab and Bahawalpur.

The Senate standing committee on Law and Justice which met here with Senator Ali Zafar in the chair, also decided to take up the issue of appointment of judges and regulation of suo motu powers separately.

The committee will to take up anti-rape cases with specific regards to Faisalabad incident. “Rape cases cannot be taken lightly and negligence in implementation of the anti-rape laws will not be tolerated, continuous monitoring is the only answer to bring those who commit these heinous crimes to justice,” said Barrister Zafar.

The committee chairman directed issued notice to inspectors general of all four provinces including Islamabad beside summoning secretary interior and all the four home secretaries to discuss the impediments in implementing the law and obtaining practical suggestions for improving the investigation and prosecution of rape cases.

He also decided to hold public hearings on the matter of creation of provinces throughout Pakistan. Barrister Zafar also decided to take up the matters of “appointment of judges” and “suo motu powers” in separate agendas.

The committee committed regretted the absence of the law minister, and said that he should have been here to apprise the committee about the government point of view and to discuss other important constitutional amendments pertaining to issuance of ordinances and other legal matters.

Zafar directed that the law minister must ensure his presence in the next meeting or else the final decision on the bills pending before the committee with representation of the committee members by majority voting.

Constitutional [Amendment] Bill, 2021 [Amendment of Article 59] introduced in the Senate sitting held on 31st May 2021 was taken up for deliberation.

Senator Seemi Ezdi said that the bill intends to amend Article 59 of the Constitution. She proposed that the two persons with disabilities, one from each province, shall be elected by the members of each provincial assembly.

The members from the provinces would rotate in every term in alphabetical order of the provinces.

The committee was apprised that parliamentary affairs, human rights ministries, the provincial governments of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are not supporting the subject bill, but comments from Sindh and Punjab provincial governments are still awaited.

The committee members unanimously believed that since there is no bar on a disabled person, the right to elect, the bill would out rightly stretch law.

The committee also observed that the examples quoted from the worldwide practices are that of the disabled elected members and not of a separate quota for disabled persons.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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