Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on Law & Justice under the Chairmanship of Senator & Barrister Syed Ali Zafar
Event Date: 2023-02-15
Senate Law and Justice Committee on Wednesday sought a detailed brief on the Kishanganga Hydro Power Project dispute manifesting the consequences of the case alleged therein the violation of the Indus Water Treaty. “we will not allow politics to be played on this one” he stated and said that Parliament has to play its part in order to determine whether the team constituted to address this critical matter is in the rights hands he said. The Chairman committee sought details on the composition of the team oversighting the Kashanganga project, to be later shared with the committee. The Senate Standing committee on Law and Justice met on Wednesday under the Chairmanship of Senator Syed Ali Zafar to consider several important constitutional amendments in its meeting today at the Parliament House.
The amendment in article 19 of the constitution pertaining to Freedom of Speech introduced by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed was rejected by the committee arguing that the clauses in the article are as per worldwide practice on freedom of Speech. The committee was of the view point that such lawlessness would create anarchy in the country. Similarly the amendment in article 203D of the constitution on the powers vested to the courts to review any decision given or order made by it was also rejected. The committee observed that amendment in the article will make redundant the entire exercise of appeal. The Senate Panel maintained that the appeal needs to be disposed of before the order is complied by. The committee however conceded that there is a question of delay in the stipulated time period and proposed that a procedural amendment should be made in the article to address this anomaly.
The committee also considered the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) (Amendment) Bill, 2023, introduced by Senator Fawzia Arshad. The amendment was discussed at length. Barristor Syed Ali Zafar affirmed the necessity of facilitating the females to give them a fair chance to reach the level of Judgeship as critical, even so should be purely on the basis of merit and competency and not quota basis he added. Senator Syed Ali Zafar said that law reforms have been introduced which are more conducive to transparent justice. The committee believed that expansion of judges would not meet the objective of the amendment and adjourned the matter to examine the judgment referred by the Minister of State Law and Justice in this regard. The committee also sought comments of the Supreme Court on the matter and deferred the matter for further deliberation.
Consideration of the Control of Narcotic substances (Amendment) Bill 2022 Introduced by Senator Shahadat Awan, Minister of State Law and Justice on behalf of Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Minister for Law and Justice was also deferred. The bill to omit death penalty and be substituted with imprisonment for life on narcotic substance was deliberated. The chairman committee commented that drug trafficking leads to many murders simultaneously and deserves capital punishment. The committee also questioned on the fate of all capital punishments if the amendment is passed. The committee deferred the bill for further discussion and sought details on the total number of deaths sentences, number of executions if any. The committee also sought details of list of all the penal laws in which death penalty prevails and also sought a brief on the policy of death sentences.
The meeting was attended by Senators Syed Muzafar Hussain Shah, Rana Maqbool Ahmad, Mushtaq Ahmed and Senator Fawzia Arshad. The Minister for State Law and Justice Senator Shahadat Awan and Senior officials from the attached ministries were also in attendance.