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ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday introduced two separate bills in the National Assembly, looking to revive the executive magistracy system in the country that was wrapped up by former dictator General Pervez Musharraf’s regime in 2001.

Proposals to reduce the qualifying age limit for high court judges from 45 to 40 years, and establishing a new institution to share maritime information with stakeholders are also on the cards.

Lawmakers raised the issue of water distribution among provinces and passed two bills — one looking to repeal the Housing Building Finance Corporation Act 1952, and the other to repeal the establishment of the Federal Bank for Cooperatives and Regulation of Cooperative Banking Act 1977.The Constitution (29th amendment) Bill 2017 was presented in the house by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Chaudhry Muhammad Ashraf, to lower the age limit of high court judges from 45 to 40 years.

29th constitution amendment bill tabled in NA

According to the bill, a new article, 211 A, is being added to revive the executive magistracy for specific purposes including law and order. The text adds that the absence of the executive magistracy had impaired the functioning of the local administration in enforcing local and special laws.

Talking to Dawn, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Law Barrister Zafarullah Khan said although the executive magistracy had been partly restored with the passage of time, it had not been fully restored.

He said the government had decided to completely restore the executive magistracy so that it could perform basic duties like price control, removal of encroachments and maintenance of law and order. “The law being enacted in this regard will be applied throughout the country,” he said.

Maritime information bill

Defence Minister Khurram Dastgir introduced a bill titled The Joint Maritime Information Organisation (JMIO) Bill-2018 aimed at establishing a new JMIO to share maritime information with relevant departments and authorities.

However, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Dr Shireen Mazari raised an objection that the Foreign Office and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) had not been made a part of the JMIO concept first conceived by the Pakistan Navy in 2012, to establish a formal mechanism for effective exchange of maritime information between all stakeholders.

She urged the defence minister to incorporate her suggestions in the bill before referring it to the relevant standing committee for debate.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2018