Islamabad, November 04, 2021 (PPI-OT):Meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Syed Ali Zafar here at Parliament House today. Meeting commenced with consideration of the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2021 (Insertion of Article 24A) introduced by Senator Saadia Abbasi in the Senate Sitting held on 12th of July 2021 regarding Right of Women to inheritance that no Women shall be deprived of her share from inheritance in Pakistan.”
Senator Saadia Abbasi said that Islam has prescribed well-defined shares for the male and female descendants of a deceased person. The Quran clearly states: “Men shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind, and women shall have a share in what parents and kinsfolk leave behind.” (Quran, Surah Al-Nisha 4:7) Islamic law (Shariah) entities women to inherit immovable and movable property, yet the practice has been to deny women their share in inheritance, particularly, in the matter of landed estates where their entire claim is often denied and male heirs tend to enjoy the right of receiving almost all the assets of the deceased.
It is an undeniable reality, and unjustified practice that it has become a norm that women either do not receive legal inheritance, or are obliged to surrender their legal rights. The purpose of this amendment is to acknowledge, declare, and assert the right of women in inheritance as a Fundamental Right in consonance with Principles of Islam and Article 23, and Article 24 of Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
She further said that if the said amendment is approved it would enable women to directly approach Supreme Court of Pakistan on the matters related to inheritance. Senator Azam Khan Swati was of the view that relevant laws already exist and there is no need to list the matter of inheritance as fundamental right.
Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar while supporting the Bill said that this “Amendment reinforces State’s commitment towards protecting women’s right to inheritance”. Chairman Committee Syed Ali Zafar commented that the said amendment is “Constitutionally Difficult”. It is a great concept but existing laws should be improved and further strengthened in order to make sure that women are not denied inheritance”.
Senator Farooq H Naek also opposed the said amendment and said that related laws already exist and we need to work towards better implementation of existing laws. Committee rejected the Bill with majority vote after due deliberations.
Committee also considered the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2021 (Amendment of Article 9) introduced by Senator Sadia Abbasi in the Senate Sitting held on 12th July, 2021 regarding right to bail and personal liberty that any person charged with an offence shall not be denied bail except in accordance with law and Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive fines Imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Senator Sadia Abbasi said that “the vital importance of personal liberty cannot be denied in a civilized world. Deprivation of liberty of an Individual must be founded on the most serious considerations relevant to welfare objectives of the society as envisaged in Article (s) 9, 14 and 25 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
The August Supreme Court of Pakistan has laid down that, “The object of bail is to ensure the attendance of accused at the trial. This object is neither punitive nor preventive. Hence, Imprisonment of a person and deprivation of liberty cannot be described other than punishment, unless no less restrictive alternative is available to ensure that the accused will stand his trial when called upon to do so.
This amendment in the Constitution aims at provision of grant of bail as a matter of “Fundamental Right” to ensure that personal liberty is not curbed except in accordance with the procedures established by law in order to strike a balance between the right to individual liberty and the interest of society”. Senator Farooq H Naek was of the view that there is no need to list the right to bail under the fundamental right in constitution. He said that relevant laws should be amended not the constitution.
Meanwhile Chairman Committee Senator Syed Ali Zafar contented that listing the right to bail under the fundamental right would dilute the existing constitutional arrangements. This is a good concept but the relevant laws should be considered for amendment rather than constitution itself. Committee rejected the Bill through majority vote after due deliberations.
Committee than moved onto consider the Constitutional amendment Bill, 2021 (Insertion of Article 38A) introduced by Senator Sadia Abbasi in the Senate sitting held on 12th July 2021 regarding identification, preservation, conservation, restoration, and access for all to National Heritage Sites of Pakistan that the State shall, identify and declare National Heritage Sites and take appropriate measures for preservation and conservation of National Heritage Sites, ensure access for all to the National Heritage Sites, take all necessary measures against all human and natural dangers to which these are exposed.
Senator Sadia Abbasi while explaining the rationale behind this amendment said that “Pakistan is endowed with a large number of ancient sites and historic structures which comprise its National Heritage. These historic assets create links with the past and present, and make the country a treasure-house of heritage spanning over centuries.
As the custodians it is incumbent upon the State of Pakistan to stabilize and conserve these for future generations. Such historical sites which comprise the National Heritage of Pakistan are of educational, cultural, and social values for all and contribute in human development.
The Constitution, for the aforesaid purpose, must provide for the measures to be taken by the State regarding identification, protection/preservation, conservation, and restoration of such sites, and ensure access for all”.
Chairman Committee Senator Syed Ali Zafar termed the Amendment as very important and commended Senator Sadia Abbasi for bringing forth such an important issue. Committee unanimously approved the said Bill after due deliberations and some editorial changes.
Committee than considered Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2021 (Insertion of Article 17A and Amendment of Article 51 and 106) introduced by Senator Sadia Abbasi in the Senate Sitting held on 12th July, 2021 regarding Right to Vote. Committee unanimously decided to defer the discussion on the Bill till next meeting of the committee in order to get opinion from Election Commission of Pakistan on the matter.
Committee than moved onto consider the Constitution Amendment Bill, 2021 (Amendment of Article 130) introduced by Senators, Kauda Babar, Naseebullah Bazai and Ahmed Khan in the Senate sitting held on 12th of July 2021 regarding who shall have the right to speak and otherwise take part in the proceedings of Assembly, or any committee thereof, but shall not by virtue of this Article be entitled to vote”
Senator Kauda Babar said that “Under Article 93 (2) read with Article 57 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, an Adviser to the Prime Minister is entitled to speak in proceedings of either House, or a joint sitting or any committee of the Parliament. The Advisers to Chief Ministers, however, do not have this entitlement. In order to ensure participation of provincial advisers in proceedings of respective Provincial Assemblies, this amendment is proposed’.
Committee unanimously approved the said Amendment after due deliberations. Meeting was attended by Senators Naseebullah Bazai, Farooq H Naek, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, Walid Iqbal, Musadik Masood Malik, Samina Mumtaz Zehri, Sadia Abbasi and officials from Ministry of Law and Justice.
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Senate of Pakistan
H.No.7, Cat-II, G-8/2, Islamabad, Pakistan