Monday, February 1, 2010

Pakistani President Pushed Away from NCA’s Chairmanship

The Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) has been assigned a significant role in the National Command Authority (NCA) while the president of Pakistan, despite being the supreme commander of the armed forces under the Constitution, figures nowhere in an extremely essential law passed by the National Assembly last week.The CJCSC may be delegated all powers and functions resting with the NCA by its chairman, the prime minister in this case, certain amendments in the ordinance promulgated by Pervez Musharraf on Dec 13, 2007, which has now passed, said.

The 10-page bill does not contain the words of the president of Pakistan even once whereas the prime minister is the focal point of all powers. For various reasons, including the pressure exerted by the PML-N on the government in closed-door meetings, President Asif Zardari was pushed away from the seat of NCA’s chairmanship.

Its clause 4 that had provided that the prime minister will be vice-chairman of the NCA has been replaced with this amendment: “Powers of the Chairman: All the powers and functions shall rest with the NCA on whose behalf, the chairman will exercise these powers and functions who may in consultation with the NCA and subject to such limitations as he may specify, delegate any of these powers and functions to the CJCSC and the director-general, Strategic Plans Division (DG SPD), who may further sub delegate the same to any NCA employee.”

Another amendment bestowed an added power to the CJCSC in the appointment of the DG SPD. The Clause 5, which provided that the SPD shall function as the secretariat of the NCA and shall be headed by a director-general to be appointed by the chairman, was replaced with this insertion: “The SPD shall function as NCA Secretariat and shall be headed by a director-general to be appointed by the chairman on the recommendation of the CJCSC. The director-general shall be serving lieutenant-general who may continue after retirement for completion of assigned projects.”

The president had every authority in the original ordinance wherein the prime minister had a secondary role and had been designated as the vice-chairman of the NCA, which was considered by the PML-N a derogatory position for the chief executive that persuaded the ruling party to delete it and make the premier the chief of the NCA, sidelining the president.The permanent (not ex-officio members, as was provided in the original ordinance) members of the NCA now include ministers for foreign affairs, interior, finance and defence, the CJCSC, services chiefs and the SPD director-general.

According to the law, the NCA shall have powers to perform all such functions that are necessary to implement objects and purposes of this legislation, which include, “without being limited, to exercise complete command and control over all nuclear and space-related technologies, systems and matters; to supervise, manage and coordinate the administration, management, control and audit of budget, programmes and projects, etc., of the strategic organisations; to authorise undertaking of specialised scientific and technological work; to prescribe specific terms and conditions of the employees including but no limited to, appointments, removals, promotions, transfers, integrity and reliability assessment and other related matters; to create classification amongst employees based on the sensitivity of the functions, nature of assignment, security considerations and in the interest of security of Pakistan; to take measures regarding employees in respect of their movement, communication, privacy, assembly or association, in the public interest or in the interest of integrity, security or defence of Pakistan or friendly relations with foreign states and public order; to place such restrictions and limitation on the employees that are necessary in the interest of the confidentiality of the functions, assignments, jobs, etc., being performed by such employees or the class of employees; to ensure security and safety of nuclear establishments, nuclear materials and to safeguard all information and technology relating to these matters; to ensure security and safety of establishments and facilities, etc., of the Strategic Organizations; and to render security and ensure safety of serving or retired e employees or any other person.”

More powers of “the NCA are to authorise possession and use of firearms to security force personnel who are in the service of the NCA; to take action, issue appropriate orders and instructions as it may deem fit or in order to advance or achieve the purposes of its establishment and in order to facilitate the performance of actions or functions that are incidental and ancillary thereto; to take implementing measures and assist the federal government pursuant to any obligation on Pakistan relating to non-proliferation, safety, security, accidents, terrorism and any other related matters; to take measures in respect of the movement, communication and interaction etc., of any employee or person, who is suspected of an attempt to commit an offence under this legislation; to carry out the functions of fact finding, inquiry, investigation, prosecution, etc., of offences under this law and to that end authorise any official of the NCA or entrust any or all of this functions to any official outside the NCA partly or fully, as the case may be; to acquire property movable or immovable in its own name or in the name of a designated official or a Strategic Organisation; and to enter into agreement, contracts and other like transactions.”

2 comments:

I think this is much needed legislations of chain of command in pakistan due to the presence of world's deadliest weapons in the country.

Pakistan does not have a Presidential system of Govt. Only reason why today our President has any significant powers is because when a military dictator "legitimises" his rule, he needs a focal point of power and position of President always sounded appealing to such work.

It is a really good thing that President has been pushed out of NCA, time to return the power to PM and put Pakistan back on a sustainable democratic path.

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