ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday promulgated eight ordinances which had already been approved by the federal cabinet at its last meeting.
The promulgated ordinances are related to the judiciary and one specifically concerning about amending the NAB Ordinance which could affect high-profile political prisoners in the country.
Law Minister Barrister Farogh Naseem and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had recently blamed the opposition parties for compelling the government to opt for legislations through ordinances.
The law minister had termed it a defining moment for Pakistan, saying that the cabinet which met under Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved eight laws of “public interest”.
The promulgated ordinances included the Letter of Administration and Succession Certificates Ordinance, 2019; the Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Ordinance, 2019; the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019; the Superior Courts (Court Dress and Mode of Address) Order (Repeal) Ordinance, 2019; the National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019; the Legal Aid and Justice Authority Ordinance, 2019 and the Whistle-Blowers Act.
The most significant ordinance which got the cabinet’s nod was the one seeking an amendment to the National Accountability Ordinance under which those facing charges of corruption worth Rs50 million or more would only be entitled to be kept in “C-Class” prisons.
The minister had refuted the impression that the said ordinance was person-specific and was being introduced only to directly target the top leaders of the two opposition parties who were currently under NAB custody.
The government believed that the Criminal Procedure Code would ensure speedy and expeditious justice for the masses who had been enduring lawsuits in civil courts for years.
Under another ordinance, the government had provided protection to the whistleblowers who would point out corruption in any department. Besides getting protection, the law minister said, the whistleblowers would also get 20 per cent of the amount which would be recovered from culprits.
The Letter of Administration and Succession Certificates Ordinance provided a mechanism for issuance of succession certificates by the National Database and Registration Authority. The Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Ordinance will guarantee right of ownership to women in inheritance. The bill aims at preventing the family from denying this right to women through “coercion, fraud, fabrication, forgery and cheating”.
The Legal Aid and Justice Authority Ordinance seeks establishment of a legal and institutional framework to promote access to justice by providing affordable, accessible, sustainable, credible and accountable legal aid, financial or other services to the poor and the vulnerable section of society in criminal matters.
The bill gives priority to disadvantaged women and children, especially in matters of sexual offences.
Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2019