[Business Recorder 19 April, 2019]

ISLAMABAD: The government Thursday opposed a bill which sought placement of all agreements, treaties, contracts and trade protocols signed by the government with the foreign countries before the Parliament.

While briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice, Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem said that he opposed “The Ratification of Foreign Agreements by Parliament Bill, 2018,” moved by former Chairman Senate and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani, on the grounds that it is against the spirit of the sub-section 3 of the Article 173 of the Constitution that permits executive to sign contracts and agreements.

While briefing the committee about the Bill, Rabbani said the Parliament is unaware of the various economic and other foreign agreements signed by the government. Some of these agreements have serious consequences on economic, political and fundamental rights of citizens; therefore, it is essential that they should be subjected to a national debate and scrutiny through the Parliament, he added. He said that in democracies, parliamentary ratification is an accepted norm which provides transparency and ensures supremacy of the Parliament. Over 16 different countries including Australia, Germany, France, the United States, France and Argentina get foreign agreements rectified from parliaments, he elaborated.

Senator Farooq Hamid Naek said that this is a very serious matter; therefore, it should be discussed in detail. Power to execute or sign an agreement or a contract is the job of executive and not the job of the Parliament. The Parliament cannot make treaties or agreements but it can make laws regarding the implementation of laws,” he said, adding that this is very important bill; therefore, it should be amended to focus on implementation of treaties.