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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary body on Wednesday held a discussion over constitutional amendments related to Article 62(1)(f) and Article 142 and asked the Ministry of Law and Justice to submit its written reply about both amendments.

The Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice, which met with Senator Barrister Ali Zafar in the chair, held deliberations over the amendment of Article 62 of the Constitution moved by Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad under which if a person is not sagacious, honest, and ameen then he is liable to be disqualified as the member of the Parliament and the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2022 amendment of Article 142 moved by Senator Farooq Hamid Naek.

As per the act moved by Senator Maqbool, in the Constitution, in Article 62, in clause (1) in paragraph (f) for the expression “no-profligate, honest and ameen” the expression “non-profligate and honest”, shall be substituted. The amendment proposed that the word “ameen” be deleted.

According to the statement of objects and reasons, of the Constitution (Amendment) Act 2022 of amendment of Article 62 of the Constitution, the Article 62 of the Constitution has elaborated conditions for eligibility of members of parliament.

Among those conditions, once the specific condition is that the person must be “ameen”. Ameen is an Arabic term which was used as a title (Laqab) for the Holy Prophet (PBUH) due to his absolute and unqualified honesty and highest possible standards of character. Muslims in general believe that this title cannot be attributed to anyone other than the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He was, is and will be the only person in this universe who is entitled to be called ameen. No other person can reach that level to be called “ameen”.

As no one can reach the level of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in any manner whatsoever, therefore, no member of parliament, irrespective of how much he or she may be honest and trustworthy, can fulfil the criteria to be called “ameen”. So through this amendment, an unachievable and unreachable condition of qualification for members of parliament will be omitted. This will bring the qualification for parliamentarians to an achievable and reachable level, it says.

Barrister Zafar suggested that the wording of Article 62(1)(f) is vague because it is highly difficult to determine who is sagacious and advised that a debate should take place on the matter.

Senator Kamran Murtaza the amendment proposed in Article 62 seems to be person-specific and in the current situation, it would further create problems. He also suggested it should also be debated in the parliament.

Zafar pointed out that the matter of time limit has been settled by the Supreme Court in a judgement in which it has been decided that if a person is found to be dishonest then he disqualifies from being a member for life. However, he further said that this was for the parliament to debate and decide if they want to restrict the time limit of disqualification for future matters.

Senator Maqbool said that the one who wrote Article 62 of the Constitution was a kid. To this, Senator Zafer said that the one who wrote Article 62 was not a kid.

Zafer directed the Law Ministry to provide a written reply as to whether the Law Ministry is accepting or opposing the amendment and also directed the Council of Islamic Ideology to give its comments.

The second Constitutional amendment related to Article 142 which was moved by Senator Naek to the effect that power should be given to the federal legislature to make amendments in the civil procedure code, contract Act, and other matters.

Naek said that the main objective of the amendment is to enhance the power of the parliament.

Zafar said that this was a matter which is related to the 18th amendment and therefore, requires consideration and accordingly, directed the Law Ministry to give comments in writing as well. The secretary Ministry of Law and Justice pointed out that the ministry has no objection, however, the chairmen directed that the ministry should give its comments in writing and give reasons whether the amendment is acceptable or not.

The meeting was attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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