ISLAMABAD, Dec 14: President Pervez Musharraf introduced six more amendments in the Constitution through executive orders on Friday — a day before the lifting of the emergency, revocation of the Provisional Constitution Order (PCO) and restoration of the Constitution.
Ordinances incorporating the amendments were promulgated late on Friday night.
Attorney General Malik Mohammed Qayyum told Dawn that Article 41(3) had been amended to remove a confusing clause in the Constitution that was inserted by the government of Gen Ziaul Haq.
He said an amendment in Article 44 (2) allowed the incumbent president to seek re-election for a fresh term of five years, notwithstanding any bar in the Constitution.
He made it clear that the bar on a person to hold the office of president had not been done away with.
Dr Sher Afgan, the former minister for parliamentary affairs, said the amendment clarified that the disqualification clause contained in Article 63 of the Constitution did not apply to the president. He said it was a formality as there were a number of judgments delivered by the apex court. He said Article 270-C of the Constitution had been amended to provide that the judges who had not taken oath under the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2007, shall cease to hold office with effect from Nov 3 and the judges who had taken oath under the order shall continue to hold office under the Constitution.
The amendment has been made to clear doubts about the judges who have ceased to hold office, making it clear the revival of the Constitution will not make them eligible to regain the charge of their offices. Those who have taken oath under the Oath of Office (Judges) Order will continue to hold their offices.
The Attorney General said the judges who had taken oath under the PCO would take a fresh oath under the Constitution after its restoration on Saturday at 1.30pm.
He said the president had made amendments in six articles of the Constitution in exercise of his powers under the Provisional Constitution Order No 1 of 2007 through promulgation of the Constitution (Second Amendment) Order, 2007.
President Pervez Musharraf has also amended Article 175 of the Constitution, making a provision for the establishment of a high court for the Islamabad Capital Territory.
Under the Constitution (Second Amendment) Order, Articles 193 and 194 have been amended to waive the requirement of consultation with the governor before the appointment of judges for the Islamabad High Court as there was no such office in Islamabad.
However, consultations with the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court and the Chief Justice of Pakistan shall be required under the Constitution.
The president shall administer oath to the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court.
Article 193 has been amended in order to reduce the minimum age limit for appointment as a high court Judge from 45 years to 40. This will facilitate entry at a younger age and enable the judges to remain in service for a longer period.
HIGH COURT: The president also promulgated the Islamabad High Court (Establishment) Order. The order pertains to the establishment of the Islamabad High Court, which will have its principal seat at Islamabad.
The Islamabad High Court shall start functioning with effect from a date to be determined by the president. There shall be a chief justice for the High Court and as many other judges as the president may determine.
The jurisdiction of the Islamabad High Court shall extend to the Islamabad Capital Territory and it will have the same appellate jurisdiction as is available to other high courts. However, the Islamabad court will have original jurisdiction in suits having a value of Rs 2.5 million or more.
After the Islamabad High Court starts functioning, all cases relating to the Capital Territory pending in the Rawalpindi Bench of the Lahore High Court shall stand transferred to Islamabad High Court.
PENSION: President Musharraf also promulgated the Supreme Court Judges (Pension Benefits) Order. The order was issued to extend pension and other retirement benefits to those judges of the Supreme Court who had ceased to hold office after not taking oath under the Oath of Office (Judges) Order.
The president also promulgated the High Court Judges (Pension Benefits) Order, 2007.This Order was issued to extend pension benefits to those judges of the high courts who had ceased to hold office as they did not take oath under the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2007.
These benefits will be available to permanent judges of high courts, including the judges who had retired under the High Court Judges (Service Benefits) Order, 2000.
The district and sessions judges appointed as judges of high courts who have ceased to hold office by virtue of the Oath of Office (Judges) Order and are not entitled to pension benefits under this order, shall be entitled to such pension as would have been admissible to them on superannuation as district and sessions judge.