NATIONAL

Statute amendments need no endorsement: Pak. Minister

KARACHI OCT. 5. The Pakistan Law Minister has asserted that the laws made by the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, including the amendments to the Constitution are part and parcel of the Constitution and do not require endorsement from the new Parliament even as the Supreme Court has sought the Government views on the subject.

The Minister, Khalid Ranja, told reporters in Lahore on Thursday that legislators to be elected in the general elections would be administered oath under the 1973 Constitution, of which the Legal Framework Order (LFO) `is now a component'. There has been a great deal of confusion on the subject in the last few days.

Four days ago the mainstream Pakistani media carried reports attributed to a bench in the apex court suggesting that the Musharraf laws require to be ratified by the new Parliament. However, the following day, the Registrar of the Supreme Court said that there had been `mis-reporting' of the court proceedings in a case related to eligibility of a candidate.

While hearing another case on Thursday, the apex court had sought the views of the Government on the subject. Hopefully the clarification made by the Minister should set the matter at rest. Majority of the political parties have opposed the amendments made by Musharraf Government and maintained that they needed to be validated by the new Parliament to remain in force.

Dr. Ranja has asserted that although various amendments had been made to the Constitution by the chief executive, the oath of the lawmakers remained unchanged.

He said the parliamentarians-elect would take the same oath that had been provided in the 1973 Constitution.

The Minister said judges of the superior courts, who had taken oath under the Provisional Constitution Order (which came into force after the military takeover), would not have to take fresh oath on the revival of the Constitution.

The Legal Framework Order, through which some new provisions had been added to the Constitution and some others, amended or deleted, needed no protection from the Parliament, he said.

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued notice to the federal Government to state its position regarding the status of Legal Framework Order, explaining whether it had come into force or would be effective from the date of revival of the Constitution.

A special bench, which was constituted to hear the constitutional petition challenging the promulgation of LFO, was asked by the petitioner-counsel to dispose of his petition with the observation that the LFO's status was merely one of the proposal and would come into effect only after the approval of the Parliament.

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