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Parties accuse each other of backtracking on Articles 62, 63

ISLAMABAD: Members of the country’s three major political parties the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Wednesday accused each other of changing their stance and backtracking from commitments to amend controversial Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution.

Briefing reporters after presiding over an in-camera meeting of the sub-committee of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms, Law Minister Zahid Hamid alleged that the two opposition parties, which had been demanding amendments to Articles 62 and 63 dealing with qualification and disqualification of members of parliament, now did not want any changes in the two provisions.

On the other hand, members of the PPP and PTI claimed that it was the PML-N which had now changed its position.

Earlier the PML-N was opposing any change in the constitutional provisions but now it wanted changes in them only to save Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was currently facing charges of money laundering and tax evasion in the Panamagate scam, they alleged.

The law minister said in previous meetings of the committee, both the PPP and the PTI had called for restoration of the constitutional provisions back to the original draft of the 1973 Constitution. “Today, the members of the two parties changed their stance,” he alleged.

When contacted, PTI’s committee member Shafqat Mahmood said it was possible that a member of his party might in the past have had made such a demand, but the current party policy was that “we do not want to see any change in Articles 62 and 63”. He alleged that it was the PML-N which now wanted to bring changes though earlier it had always opposed such moves. He recalled that the Constitution had already been reviewed two or three times, including the 18th Amendment, in the recent past, but no change was made in the two articles.

When contacted, the PPP’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, Syed Naveed Qamar, said he could not attend the meeting due to personal engagements. However, he said, his party would support amendments aimed at removing the changes made by a military dictator in the 1973 Constitution.

Shazia Marri of the PPP, who had attended the meeting, said her party in principle stood by its demand that the constitution should be restored to its original form, but it believed that the PML-N was now interested in changing the two articles only to save Prime Minister Sharif, who was being tried at the Supreme Court on money laundering charges.

She said when the PPP had made the demand for restoration of Articles 62 and 63 to their original form in a meeting of the electoral reforms committee two years ago, the PML-N was not only opposed to it, but was even reluctant to open a debate on the issue.

Ms Marri said the PPP wanted to get rid of the constitutional amendments introduced by military dictator Gen Ziaul Haq only to complicate electoral process and even the PTI was convinced of it when the electoral reforms committee had started its work. She claimed that the PML-N members in the sub-committee talked only about changes in the provision of “Sadiq and Ameen” and she reminded them that the PPP wanted complete restoration of the two provisions.

She refuted the law minister’s claim that the PPP had backtracked from its earlier stance, saying she had not made any categorical statement in the meeting which gave such an impression.

courtesy : dawn news



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