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Tuesday April 16, 2024

Extraordinary circumstances: Caretaker govt can stay beyond mandated period, says law minister

Azam Nazir Tarrar has said the caretaker governments could only continue in office till the time of polling for the succeeding assemblies and establishment of new legislatures

By Muhammad Saleh Zaafir
January 29, 2023
Federal Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Senator Azam Nazir Tarrar. APP/File
Federal Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Senator Azam Nazir Tarrar. APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Federal Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Senator Azam Nazir Tarrar has said the caretaker governments could only continue in office till the time of polling for the succeeding assemblies and establishment of new legislatures.

In a brief chat with The News here Saturday evening, the minister maintained that the Constitution has made it mandatory that election for the dissolved provincial assemblies would be held within 90 days of the day of dissolution. The minister participated in a consultative meeting of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) in Lahore on Saturday and greeted PMLN Chief Organiser Maryam Nawaz on her return from London.

To a question, Tarrar reminded that the country had witnessed at least two occasions in the past ever since the 1973 Constitution was enforced that caretaker governments had to stay beyond the constitutionally-mandated period as the consequence of extraordinary circumstances and no court of law disputed the extension of period of then administrations.

“The precedents provide for such an eventuality, but it couldn’t become a practice.”

The minister recalled that first in 1988, floods, and later in 2007, when the late Benazir Bhutto was martyred, the country was under caretaker administration, the polls had to be deferred.

He said the government was determined to follow the scheme of the Constitution in related affairs and had no intention to act in contravention to the Constitution. He cited the Article 254 of the Constitution that provides remedy in case of any exigency and said that the government and institutions concerned were following what had been described in the book.

The Article 254 of the Constitution reads: “When any act or thing is required by the Constitution to be done within a particular period and it is not done within that period, the doing of the act or thing shall not be invalid or otherwise ineffective by reason only that it was not done within that period.” Senator Tarrar will be returning here tomorrow (Monday) and chair a meeting in the ministry on the following day to discuss the legislative affairs as the two houses of parliament would recommence on the same day.