Besides deliberating on the challenges thrown up by the floods, the government intends to use the platform of Council of Common Interests (CCI) to also discuss various issues in the 18th Amendment which have been challenged in the Supreme Court, according to sources. The CCI, which is headed by the prime minister, is meeting here on Monday mainly to discuss issues related to the flood. The chief executives of the provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan will present their estimates of losses caused by the flood. According to official sources, several proposals about a mechanism for distribution of relief funds are under consideration. The federal government, the sources said, might present the model adopted for disbursements of aid among 2.5 million people displaced from Swat and other areas of Malakand division and their rehabilitation. The federal government announced earlier that Rs20,000 would be paid to each affected family as an initial grant, but the move was stalled when the provinces failed to present lists of the people and areas affected by the floods. However, the sources said that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani would also discuss at the meeting the mechanism for appointment of judges, which according to the 18th Amendment is to be finalised by an eight-member parliamentary committee. The 18th Amendment has been challenged in the Supreme Court by a number of petitioners who mainly oppose the involvement of politicians in the process of appointment of judges. Last week when the government indicated its willingness to form a judicial commission with the power to nominate names of judges to be appointed, the apex court reacted sharply and granted extensions on its own to the 32 additional judges of high courts whose tenure was to end on various dates this month. That is one reason why the federal government wants to garner support for the amendment from political parties in power at the centre and in the provinces, according to the sources. The support of political parties for the amendment is crucial also because the government has constantly been facing the Supreme Court’s ire during hearings on the issue over the last few months. At the CCI meeting the prime minister would also discuss the possible repercussions in case the Supreme Court struck down the mechanism for appointment of judges envisaged in the 18th Amendment, added the sources. Under the amendment, the parliamentary committee will comprise four senators and four members of National Assembly. Of the eight members, four will be from treasury benches (two each from the two houses of parliament) and four from the opposition. The leaders of the two houses will make nominations for members from the treasury benches and leaders of the opposition will nominate members from the opposition.The secretary of the Senate will function as the secretary of the committee.
By: Dawn News