Bill seeking changes in Pak nuclear programme’s law dropped

Islamabad: A bill seeking amendments in the laws dealing with Pakistan’s nuclear programme was withdrawn at the last minute by a lawmaker, citing an “extraordinary situation”.

Senator Farhatullah Babar, withdrew his private member bill seeking modifications in the National Command Authority (NCA) Act in the upper house of parliament, saying he had been going through an “extraordinary situation ever since he submitted the bill”.

Without elaborating any further, the PPP lawmaker said the stakeholders had expressed reservations and he wished to withdraw the bill for broader consultations and discussions, the Express Tribune reported.

The aborted bill had proposed barring the Prime Minister, the NCA chairman and the command authority from transferring some of its functions to any individual or institution.

The NCA has a board of governors headed by the Prime Minister and comprises virtually all important members of the civil and military establishment.

Two of its most important functions include, as in Section 7(a), exercising complete command and control over all nuclear and space related technologies, systems and matter while Section 7(c) authorises undertaking the specialised scientific and technological work.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill said this “onerous and most sensitive responsibility” must be exercised by the authority alone and delegating this power to any other individual would have serious consequences.

Seeking further changes, the proposed bill also suggested the post of the NCA’s Strategic Plans Division (SPD) director-general should be rotated among officers of all three defence services as well as the civil services to
attract the best of the best.