By Agha Iqrar Haroon
Islamabad, Pakistan: Will the federal interim government introduce ordinances to override and rectify anomalies, glitches, irregularities, and incongruities found in reckless legislation done by the previous PDM government?
This question comes to mind when anybody reads a notification vide No.F.5/3/2023-Com dated August 23, 2023, that says that a cabinet committee of an interim cabinet will review the legislation already done by the previous government stating that the committee would review that weather a fresh legislation/amendment is within the constitutional scheme or it is in violation of existing laws?
The notification further says that if the committee decides to amend the proposal of the sponsoring division, from a policy perspective, and the same is agreed to by the sponsoring division in the CCLC meeting, the amended proposal will be placed before the cabinet for ratification.
Point three says that in case of disagreement between the sponsoring division and CCLC on a policy matter, the points of view of both shall be placed before the cabinet for a decision. After this decision, notification is silent what the cabinet would do further? Will it just fix anomalies in the form of “recommendations” for future parliament to amend or will it take a workable action and will amend the law through a Presidential Ordinance? After the amendment of laws dealing with the terms of reference (TOR) of interim government, things have become so complicated that virtually nobody knows new terms of references, domains, powers, or limitation of the newly formed interim government.
There is no doubt that perceivable reckless legislation done by the PDM government in the last month in power is under strong criticism particularly acts made for the establishment of new universities in the private sector. The most interesting was “Pak-China Gwadar University Lahore Bill 2023”. Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi while sitting in a television talk show accused of large-scale corruption and graft schemes behind these university bills although Abbasi is known for his sane and calculated conversation. Interestingly, when someone goes through the list, one can find many individual parliamentarians got passed even six university bills in one go. It may further be mentioned that out of the 76 laws passed by the 15th National Assembly, 36 of these introduced bills were approved without being referred to the relevant standing committees responsible for the respective subjects.
It is pertinent to mention that the interim Prime Minister, in terms of rule 17(2) of the Rules of Business 1973 has been pleased to constitute the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC),” read a notification of the Cabinet Division. Grippingly, the notification does not use word “interim Prime Minister” or “interim cabinet” and just mentioned “the prime minister” and “the cabinet”.
If the Cabinet Division of Pakistan considers the interim prime minister as the prime minister and the interim cabinet as the cabinet then there is a possibility that the prime minister and the cabinet after deliberation can approve amendments in recently passed acts and can introduce these amendments through Presidential Ordinances and keep working smoothly with the amendments for six months and then next elected government decide their fate. Moreover, the interim government by blocking or trashing reckless and controversial legislations done by the PDM government would actually earn a good name from the majority of the population of the country that is still in shock to read enactments like “Pak-China Gwadar University Lahore”.