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NA validates Gilani's post-conviction actions

20 November, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Monday passed legislation to validate actions taken by former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani between his conviction on April 26, 2012 and sacking on June 19, 2012 by the Supreme Court amidst opposition by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to blanket approval to these actions and orders.

Having majority in the House, the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP) with the support of its allies faced no hurdle in passing the bill, which, however, failed to turn out to be unanimous.

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf also turned up in the House to witness the passage of the legislation, which validated the actions, orders and instruments done, made and issued by his predecessor.

The PML-N also objected to the mentioning of unanimous passage of the bill by the House standing committee, as Saira Afzal Tarar pointed out she and her party colleague Anusha Rahman, being members of the committee, opposed it.

Committee Chairman Begum Nasim Akhtar Chaudhry, however, clarified mentioning the word "unanimous" is a clerical mistake, which the PML-N demanded be immediately rectified.

PML-N members Zahid Hamid, Saira Afzal Tarar, Khurram Dastagir Khan and Mahmood Bashir Virk opposed the bill tooth and nail, saying blanket validation to the actions of the former prime minister was unconstitutional because the acts taken during the period of Gilani's conviction and disqualification lacked constitutional validity.

"The list of all these acts should be submitted to determine what are important acts that need the validity," Zahid Hamid urged and noted that blanket validity was not a solution.

Khurram Dastagir Khan said a legislative body couldn't render an illegal act legal. Bashir Virk compared the blanket validity to the tactics of dictators who had used parliament in the past to get their acts validated. He requested the House to desist from passing the bill, while MNA Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor pleaded the Supreme Court had disqualified the former prime minister from back date, therefore, a validation was required.

Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Farooq H Naek expressed surprise over the objection of the PML-N and mentioned a bill passed unanimously a few moments ago – Trade Organisation Bill 2012 – with the same provisions regarding validating certain acts, and questioned why were the members raising objection on this specific bill regarding Gilani's decisions. He argued that not a single instrument and act of the former prime minister was declared illegal in the apex court judgement.

The bill provides that "besides validating the actions of the former prime minister, no suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings, including writ petition, shall lie in any court or forum, including the Supreme Court, against any authority or any person, for or on account of or in respect of any order made, proceedings taken or act done or advice given whether in the exercise or purported exercise of the powers or functions referred to in or in execution of or in compliance with orders made or functions performed or actions taken in exercise or purported exercise of such powers".

Earlier, the National Assembly also resounded with voices condemning the barbarism of Israeli forces in Gaza. Abdul Qadir Khanzada of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) diverted the attention of the House towards the brutal acts of Israel in Palestine and demanded the world take notice of the situation.

PML-N's Rana Tanveer Hussain condemning the Israeli aggression said regretfully the stern action that should have come from the government was nowhere to be seen. The MQM's Iqbal Qadri also moved a resolution against the brutal acts of Israel in Palestine, but voting on it was put off for Tuesday (today) to club it with the resolution of the PML-N, which also announced to submit its own resolution on the issue today.

The National Assembly also passed a condemnation resolution on the killing of journalist Rehmatullah Abid in Panjgur, Balochistan, on the demand of journalists who walked out from the press gallery as a mark of protest against the murder.


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