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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pakistan steps ahead to scrap presidential power: minister

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, June 1, IRNA
Pakistan-Presidential Power-Amendments
Pakistani government Sunday stepped ahead to introduce wide-ranging amendments in the Constitution to scrap powers of the president in dissolving the parliament and appointing services chiefs, the law minister said.

A proposed package of constitutional reforms drafted by the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) also suggests sacking of the judges who will approve military rules.

Most of the president's powers will be given to the prime minister, Law Minister Farooq Naik told reporters.

Naik met former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore and handed over copy of the proposed constitutional amendments.

The reforms package was approved by PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari yesterday, and was provided to allies in the ruling coalition, the minister said.

The president has the powers to dissolve the parliament and dismiss the government and the 62-point 'Constitutional Amendments Package' package proposes withdrawal of the dissolution powers.

Explaining the salient features of the proposed amendments, Naik said in order to make the parliament supreme, the powers presently enjoyed by the president would be handed over back to the prime minister.

He said it is proposed that judges of the high courts and supreme courts validating suspension or abrogation of the Constitution will attract high treason and cease to be judge of the superior courts.

Criticism of the judiciary or armed forces would not attract disqualification for candidates to the assemblies.

The power to appoint governors would be transferred back to the prime minister.

There is also proposal to elect one minority member from each province to the Senate of Pakistan give minorities an effective presence in the upper house.

Under the changes outlined in the package, which is expected to be introduced in parliament, only the prime minister will have the power to declare war or authorize the use of nuclear weapons, according to sources.

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