Islamabad: The Pakistani Constitution is all set to undergo a major overhaul. For the first time in the country’s parliamentary history, one-fourth of the articles in the Constitution are being amended and that too with a ‘consensus’.
As per a report in The Dawn, the Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reforms – constituted to frame a package of wide-ranging constitutional reforms, including a proposal to strip the President of his sweeping powers - has suggested over 100 amendments to more than 70 articles of the Constitution. Senator Raza Rabbani heads the Committee.
The Rabbani committee had also put forward a suggestion to eliminate person-specific changes proposed by military rulers through legal framework orders, and which were later endorsed by Parliament. It further called for some vital changes in the articles related to provincial autonomy.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan, a close aide of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, has described the package as the "biggest" set of constitutional reforms in 37 years.
The Rabbani committee, which was formed in 2009, is expected to give a proposal to strip the president of his sweeping powers.
According to reports, the committee proposes to abolish the Concurrent List from the Constitution, giving the provinces rights to do legislation on a number of subjects which have hitherto been under the control of the federal government.
The package is aimed at achieving the people's dream of a "federalist Islamic republic" by removing constitutional changes introduced during the last two spells of martial law in Pakistan, Awan said.
He was referring to changes made to the Constitution by former military rulers Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf.
The package will also restore the Constitution to its status in 1973, ensure the independence of the judiciary and make the executive more effective, Awan said.
Pakistan's then president Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had endorsed a new Constitution in April 1973 but subsequent military rulers had introduced several changes to strengthen their grip on power.
Since the Pakistan People's Party came to power in the 2008 general election, opposition parties have been pushing the government to strip the president of his sweeping powers.
First Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010, 13:36