Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, alleged on Thursday that despite taking all the credit for correcting the Constitution through the amendment, the president had been the first one to violate it. - Photo by APP.
ISLAMABAD An apparent mistake by the law ministry has once again caused embarrassment for the Presidency which announced on Wednesday re-promulgation of 13 ordinances, an action the president was not authorised to take under the 18th Amendment.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, alleged on Thursday that despite taking all the credit for correcting the Constitution through the amendment, the president had been the first one to violate it. Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said President Asif Ali Zardari had authorised re-promulgation of the ordinances much before the amendment landed in his secretariat for his signature, but the law ministry sat on them till Wednesday.

“It is simply out of question that the president would do anything against the Constitution. Re-promulgation of these ordinances was done under the then prevailing Constitution of the country.”

President Zardari gave his assent to the 18th Amendment on April 19.

However, talking to journalists at the Parliament House, Chaudhry Nisar said “According to Article 89 of the new amendment, the president has no right to re-promulgate an ordinance unless it is approved by any one house of parliament through a resolution.”

Referring to the Defence Housing Authority Ordinance which was among those that had been re-promulgated, he said the government appeared hell bent upon providing legal cover to wrongdoings of military dictator Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf.

“The government is repeatedly promulgating this highly controversial ordinance first issued in 2005 which is only meant to regularise land grabbed by a few former generals.”

He said the Pakistan Muslim League-N had already announced that it would forcefully oppose the DHA bill if it was brought to the National Assembly for approval.

The opposition leader said the incumbent military leadership should stay away from issues like DHA because it would tarnish forces' image.

Under the 18th Amendment, an ordinance cannot be re-promulgated until it is approved by the National Assembly or Senate through a resolution. An ordinance lapses if it is not brought before either house to be made an act of parliament 120 days after its promulgation.

Before the amendment, the president could re-promulgate an ordinance as many times as he liked.

Late on Wednesday night, the government had announced re-promulgation of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) Ordinance; Defence Housing Authority Islamabad Ordinance; Arbitration (International Investment Disputes) Ordinance; Islamic Consumer Protection (Amendment) Ordinance; Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Ordinance; Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Ordinance; Women in Distress and Detention Fund (Amendment) Ordinance; Recognition and Enforcement (Arbitration Agreements and Foreign Arbitral Awards) Ordinance; West Pakistan Regulation and Control of Loudspeakers and Sound Amplifiers Ordinance; Civil Servant (Amendment) Ordinance; Price Control and Prevention of Profiteering and Hoarding (Amendment) Ordinance; Islamabad Consumers Protection (Amendment) Ordinance; and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Ordinance, 2010.

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