Senate rejects media impression regarding 21st Amendment


ISLAMABAD, Dec 29 (APP): The Senate Secretariat has taken notice of the impression which has been created in media that Parliament has not acted with respect to the sundown clause in the Constitution Twenty-first (Amendment) Act, 2015, dealing with the establishment of Army Courts.
According to a press release, the impression is factually incorrect as the Senate of Pakistan – House of the Federation – has always remained conscious that the Parliament of Pakistan legislated for establishment of military courts for speedy trial of terrorists, as an exceptional step.
However, this special measure shall come to an end in January, 2017 as the Constitution (Twenty-First Amendment) Act, 2015 provides a sunset clause, according to which, the provisions of the said Acts shall remain in force for a period of two years from the date of its commencement.
Therefore, a Committee of the Whole House was constituted on May 18, 2015, which recommended two draft Bills and special measures to improve the existing legislative and administrative mechanism for combating terrorism.
The Report of the Committee was adopted by the House on Dec 31, 2015 and thereafter it was sent to the Government for implementation.
The two Bills namely the Anti-Terrorism Act (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Witness Protection Bill, 2015 were piloted by Senator Raja Muhammad Zafar-ul-Haq, Leader of the House, Senator Aitzaz Ahsan, Leader of the Opposition and all Parliamentary Parties’ Leaders in the Senate namely,- Senator Col. ® Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Senator Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Senator Saeed Ghani, Senator Muhammad Talha Mehmood, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Senator Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, Senator Dr. Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Senator Baz Muhammad Khan, Senator Hidayat Ullah, Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak, Senator Siraj ul Haq and Senator Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah.
The Senate of Pakistan unanimously passed the said Bills on January 18, 2016 and the Bills were transmitted to the National Assembly. The Bills were passed with the intent to initiate the process of legislation well before time as well as to provide a baseline to the Government for further improvising on the same.
The Senate of Pakistan, being oblivious of its constitutional role, has already proposed a mechanism for filing the vacuum for combating terrorism in the country, which may occur after January 7, 2017.