Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Perils of Pauline in Islamabad

Remember the constitutional amendment the Pakistani National Assembly passed by the required supermajority? Well, it was supposed to sail through the Senate today. Wrong! The Senate was unable to muster the necessary votes to approve it, and the matter will be brought up again next week. The Army Act amendment that goes along with the constitutional amendment was passed because it did not require a supermajority. Details here.
No decision could be reached on the 28th Amendment Bill 2017, which pertains to the revival of military courts for another two years, due to the absence of some members and non-seriousness of a few others. 
Only 67 members were present in the Senate, whereas for two-thirds majority to be achieved at least 69 members are needed. The voting on the 28th Amendment has subsequently been postponed to next Tuesday, March 28. 
The 28th Amendment has already been passed by the National Assembly, when 255 NA members voted in favour while only four voted against the bill on Tuesday. 
The bill recommends a two-year extension in the term of military courts. It also demands implementation of the law of evidence during the proceedings. 
The other points of the bill recommend that the suspect be brought in front of a court within 24 hours and be entitled to have a lawyer of their choice.
Presumably there will be frenzied politicking, pro and con, between now and March 28. 

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