And Now Pakistan Sovereignty Act 2009November 7, 2009
Ahmed Quraishi | The News International
Once passed, the President of Pakistan will have to certify in January of every year that his government has not entered into any understandings with foreign governments that violate national interest including, among other things, permitting them to interfere in appointments and promotions inside the Pakistani armed forces.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—In an apparent tit for tat to the Kerry-Lugar Act, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Wasim Sajjad has submitted a bill in the upper house, mandating annual presidential certification to parliament to preserve, protect and assert the sovereignty and honor of Pakistan.
“There are many forces, both inside and outside the country, bent on weakening the defence of Pakistan, thereby endangering its sovereignty and integrity,” Wasim Sajjad said in a statement of objects and reasons of the bill to be called the “Pakistan Sovereignty Act 2009”, a copy of which was exclusively provided to The News. It said a vulnerable economic situation was being used to force Pakistan into taking steps that were not in the national interest, and it was therefore necessary to enact this law.
The brief bill reads:
“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any law and treaty, and undertakings or conditionalities agreed with any foreign country, the president of Pakistan shall certify in January each year on behalf of the government of Pakistan to each house of parliament that the sovereignty and honor of Pakistan have not been compromised in any manner whatsoever; that no compromise has been made on security or effectiveness of the nuclear program of Pakistan; that no understanding has been reached with any foreign country for interference in the change of command or promotions in the armed forces or in the structure or role of the security forces of Pakistan; and that no conditionalities have been accepted from any source to weaken the defense of Pakistan against foreign aggressions.”
While talking to this correspondent, Wasim Sajjad believed no parliamentary party would oppose or object to the bill because it dealt with an important non-controversial issue, which was of concern to every citizen of Pakistan. He hoped the ruling coalition parties would support this bill because there were no two opinions on protecting the sovereignty of Pakistan.
He said the Kerry-Lugar Act raised many concerns and caused serious worries in almost all civil and military circles. He said to deal with these misgivings and qualms it was necessary to provide a legal statute wherein the president of Pakistan was bound to give to parliament an annual certification.
Wasim Sajjad said this would be something new in Pakistan, but such requirements were in place in many countries, especially the US, where the Congress was informed about all measures and policies decided by the US administration.
It appears the Pakistan Sovereignty Act was drafted keeping in view the harsh provisions of the Kerry-Lugar Act, which were interpreted in Pakistan as something meant to hit the country hard. Almost all the matters on which this proposed law seeks presidential certification were covered directly or indirectly in the Kerry-Lugar Act.
This report was published by The News International. It is reproduced here under the universal fair use understanding for noncommercial purposes.