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Event Title: Senator Syed Ali Zafar, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2022-12-14

Senate Standing Committee on Law & Justice under the Chairmanship of Senator & Barrister Syed Ali Zafar considered many crucial constitutional amendments in its meeting today in Parliament House

The Committee approved that the Constitution be amended so as to change the composition of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and substitute two men seats for two women seats. At the outset, Chairman of the Committee, Barrister Syed Ali Zafar, stated that he believes in the phrase that half the universe is held up by women and there should be therefore equal representation of women ultimately in all sectors of life and such a policy should be immediately implemented in at least those institutions where there is sufficient expertise of women.

The original proposal was to increase the strength of existing ECP from four to eight with equal representation of men and women. It was decided by majority that the total number of members shall remain four, however, two of them would be women and that each Province would nominate alternatively a man and a woman member so that at all times there would be equal representation.

In another landmark decision for women, it was again by majority decided by the Committee that there should be one reserve seat from Islamabad as well. Barrister Zafar pointed out that in the original Constitution whereas reserve seats of women were given to all the Provinces but no reserve seat for women was given to Islamabad and this was the need of the hour. Barrister Zafar thanked the honorable Senators who had moved the bill.

Keeping in view the constant struggle between the Federation and the Provinces, a bill had been moved by Senator Farooq H. Naek for increasing the scope of the subjects which fall within the Concurrent List. Chairman, Barrister Zafar explained that there were certain laws in which the Federal Parliament and Provincial Assemblies could pass the laws which was known as the Concurrent List and included subjects like criminal law and law of evidence. However, he said that it was necessary to harmonize the laws in various sectors like Family Law, Arbitration, Contract Act, Limitation and Civil Procedure Code and accordingly these subjects may be included in the Concurrent List as well so that both the Federal Legislature and the Provincial Legislature could make laws on it. The Committee voted upon this constitutional amendment and by majority agreed to incorporate it.

In addition to the afore-mentioned, an issue was raised in the Senate Committee that although provinces of Punjab, KPK and Sindh had permanent Benches of High Courts in various cities as specified in the Constitution, yet there were no Benches operating in Balochistan. The Chairman of the Committee had requested the Pakistan Bar Council, Balochistan Bar Council, Quetta Bar Association and other bar office holders to give their points of view who were all in attendance. Chairman of the Committee noted that since the Benches in Balochistan had been specified in the Constitution, it was the constitutional duty of the Government and a matter of enforcement of fundamental rights that those Benches be made operational. The Committee showed its serious concern and it was unanimously agreed to request and write to the Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court as well as the Governor and the Chief Minister of the Province in this regard and apprised them of the concerns of the Senate Committee.