ISLAMABAD, Aug 21: President and Chief Executive Gen Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday issued the Legal Framework Order 2002 interjecting many amendments to the 1973 Constitution, particularly the restoration of Article 58(2-B) to dismiss the government and setting up of the National Security Council.
The LFO 2002 shall come into force at once.
The president unveiled the much-awaited amendment package at a news conference by saying that all the political and economic reforms introduced by his government as well as the LFO 2002 did not require to be validated by parliament.
“We had been allowed by the Supreme Court to make necessary amendments to the Constitution and we have done this job for which I do not need any validation or approval of the future assembly,” Gen Musharraf declared.
Many proposed amendments, he pointed out, had been withdrawn after consultations with politicians, legal and constitutional experts, intellectuals and journalists. The proposals withdrawn related, among other matters, to the appointment of prime minister by the president and reduction of the term of senators from six to four years and that of the National Assembly from five to four years.
The LFO 2002 created the provision of the NSC under Article 152A which says that there shall be a National Security Council to serve as a forum for consultation on strategic matters pertaining to the sovereignty, integrity and security of the state; and matters relating to democracy, governance and inter-provincial harmony.
When reminded that Law Minister Khalid Ranjah was on record having stated that the future assembly could undo the new amendments, the president replied: “Yes, the new assembly could discuss them but we will not allow anyone to scrap them”.
He said there was a strong need for checks and balances for which it was imperative that the president had powers to dissolve the assembly. However, he added, such a decision would be taken with the active participation of the NSC.
An amendment has been made to Schedule (Article 3) under which the Chief Executive shall relinquish the office of the CE on such day as he may determine in accordance with the Supreme Court judgment of May 12, 2000, and shall hold the office for a term of five years under the Constitution.
The president has been empowered to appoint, in his discretion, the chairman Joint of Chiefs of Staff Committee and all the three service chiefs.
Under the LFO 2002, there shall be 342 seats of the National Assembly against the existing 217, and it will include seats reserved for women and non-Muslims. Likewise, the Senate shall consist of 100 members against the present 87.
The president said that a decision had been taken to create a Mediation Committee for removing differences between the Senate and the National Assembly. The Mediation Committee has been created by amending Article 71 which says that all the decisions shall be made by a majority of the total number of members of each House in the Mediation Committee.
The Mediation Committee will have eight members each from the Senate and the National Assembly.
Many amendments, the president said, were dropped and left to the future assembly whether to consider them or not.