Saturday, Nov 16, 2002
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By B. Muralidhar Reddy
An official announcement said the Constitution, which was suspended in the wake of the military coup on October 12, 1999, stands restored except with regard to the Articles pertaining to the `Provincial Governments, the Senate of Pakistan, etc.'. It said they would be restored later.
It was not clear whether the controversial amendments Gen. Musharraf had made to the Constitution in August through the Legal Framework Order are part of the revived Statute.
It is intriguing why the Pakistan President, Pervez Musharraf, has not revived the Articles pertaining to Senate and provincial assemblies.
The immediate implication of the decision would mean that elections to the Senate and formation of governments in the four provinces would be delayed.
It would also mean that the Parliament of Pakistan would be incomplete in the absence of the Senate. It is the members of National Assembly and Senate who form part of the electoral college for election to the office of President.
In a related development, the former Prime Minister and Chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Benazir Bhutto, asserted that her party would continue to fight for "restoration of democracy and supremacy of Parliament" even if there was just one member of her party in the National Assembly.
Addressing the newly-elected members of her party via satellite from the United States Ms. Bhutto asked the PPP legislators-elect to uphold the trust reposed in them by the party and the people by upholding the democratic principles as they entered Parliament.
Her reference was obviously to the split in her party on Thursday night.
Interestingly, the PPP is playing down the decision of 10 of its newly-elected members to form a new group and their announcement to support the efforts of Gen. Musharraf for transfer of power to a civilian set-up.
The PPP maintained that the dissidents continued to be in the party and at the moment there was no proposal for any disciplinary action against them.
"Even if the Party was left with just one MNA in Parliament it will not give up its fight for the restoration of democracy, supremacy of the Constitution and its principles come what may", she declared amid cheers by newly-elected members of her party present at the residence of her husband here.
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