Sunday, June 23, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pervez to arm himself with more power

Islamabad, June 22
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf will have the power to nominate a non-parliamentarian as Prime Minister after the October elections under a proposed constitution amendment package.

The legal and constitutional package, to be announced next week, was discussed at a meeting chaired by President Musharraf for the second time this week yesterday. There was no official word on the marathon deliberations.

Mr Tanvir Naqvi, chairman of the National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB), and his team briefed the President on the proposal.

A report in The News daily said the package would bring about far-reaching amendments to the constitution and the Political Parties Act (PPA), 1962.

Discretionary powers that were available to the President under the now abolished eighth amendment would be revived. These relate to the appointment of the service chiefs, chairmen of the joint chiefs of staff committee, the Federal Public Service Commission and the Chief Election Commissioner.

According to the proposals, a non-elected person nominated by the President for the Prime Ministerís post will have to get himself elected within six months.

Provincial chief ministers and not Governors will be members of the National Security Council (NSC). The inclusion of Chief Ministers is aimed at having elected people in the forum to create a balance between uniformed and civilian members in decision-making, said an official.

The President will have the power to dismiss the Prime Minister and his Cabinet or the National Assembly, or both. But he can do so only on the recommendations of the NSC and not at his discretion.

Political parties will have to hold their internal elections before the October poll, and their presidents will submit certificates to the Chief Election Commissioner informing him of the names of the elected central and provincial office-bearers.

The Political Parties Act will also be amended accordingly.

Political parties will have to get their accounts audited by chartered accountants and submit their statements to the Election Commission, failing which they could be penalised and be barred from participating in the elections.

The senate will not have the power to deal with money matters, which means the Upper House would not be empowered to interfere in the federal Budget, which would continue to be the exclusive domain of the directly elected National Assembly.

The federal Cabinet will approve the amendment package. After that, President Musharraf will put the package to public debate through a televised speech, giving reasons for introducing the key amendments.

Under the democracy roadmap unfolded by Musharraf in August last year, the constitutional package is to be opened for public debate by June 30, 2002. IANS

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