Pak upper house clears bill seeking immunity for top leaders

 Pakistan's upper house on Wednesday passed a bill aimed at protecting top leaders from contempt of court and curbing the Supreme Court's efforts to push the Prime Minister into reopening graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.

The President is expected to sign the bill later tonight for making it into law.The bill was adopted by the National Assembly (lower house) on Monday.

The upper house of the parliament took only five minutes to pass the bill while the lower house took two hours, the Dawn News reported.

Putting aside reservations of its own senators, Raza Rabbani and Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, the Pakistan Peoples Party government seemed in a hurry to make the bill a law before scheduled hearing of NRO implementation case in the Supreme Court tomorrow on July 12.

The main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) recorded their protest by staging a walkout from the session before proposing few recommendations regarding the bill, which were ignored by the majority party and subsequently the house adopted the bill with clear majority.

PML-N leader Raja Zafrul Haq said that there should have been negotiations on the matter before amending the constitution. "We have attached all hopes with the Supreme Court now," he added.

Law Minister Farooq H Naek said that the constitution gives the parliament right to legislate. "We are not against the judiciary, but respect the constitution," he added.
Earlier today, it was reported that the government has decided to delay the submission of response to the Supreme Court pertaining to the NRO implementation case. The response would be submitted to the apex court after the approval from the federal cabinet.

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