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Cabinet decides to limit top court’s powers

Federal cabinet replaces Tahir Hussain with Mohsin Butt as FIA DG

The federal government has decided to legislate on the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction on suo motu notices and the powers of the chief justice to constitute benches among others.

The decision was made during a federal cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on Wednesday. Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, while speaking to the media, said that a parliamentary committee will be formed on judicial reforms.

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The move came after the devastating blow to the nascent Shehbaz Sharif-led ruling coalition as the Supreme Court struck down Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari’s ruling on the election of Punjab chief minister, paving the way for PTI’s candidate Chaudhry Parvez Elahi to ascend to the throne in the country’s political heartland. In the conclusion to a hearing that gripped the country for the past four days, a three-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Munib Akhtar, announced the verdict after over a three-hour delay on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Supreme Court Bar Association, high court bars of all provinces, Pakistan Bar Council have also demanded to limit the powers of the Supreme Court in their joint resolution.

The lawyers said that the parliament should amend Article 175 (2) and 191 of the constitution, abolishing the chief justice’s blanket authority in forming benches, fixing the date of cases and taking suo motu notices and give these powers to five most senior judges of the top court.

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Also, the federal cabinet Wednesday approved the withdrawal of the curative review petition against a top court order in the Justice Qazi Faez Isa case.

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said there was no precedent for the curative review filed against Justice Isa, adding that “it was only filed to keep” the judge “under pressure”.

The interior minister mentioned that a sub-committee has been formed to take action against all those who made “false references” against Justice Isa. He added that the sub-committee has been asked to submit a report in this regard.

Moreover, the cabinet on Wednesday approved the appointment of Mohsin Butt – a Grade-22 officer of the Police Service of Pakistan – as the director general of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), removing Rai Tahir Hussain from the post.

Rai Tahir has been appointed as the national coordinator for terrorism. The federal cabinet had appointed Rai Tahir on the aforesaid post on April 20. The meeting also approved the Inter Government Commercial Transaction Act, 2022 sent by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

It was shared that the draft law would help boost foreign investors’ confidence and increase foreign investment in the country. The cabinet also reviewed the losses caused by torrential rains in Sindh and Balochistan. The prime minister appreciated the efforts of Sindh chief minister, who was personally visiting the affected areas to review relief activities in the province, particularly in Karachi and Hyderabad. The meeting, on the recommendation of the Ministry of National Health Services and Regulations, approved a proposal to enhance the Maximum Retail Prices (MRPs) of 15 types of imported cardiac stents in proportion with the exchange rate.

The federal cabinet endorsed decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) taken in its meeting held on July 25, 2022.



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