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Competition law comes into force

01 zardari pakistan newsKARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday gave assent to the Competition Bill, 2010, to forestall anti-competition behaviour and other unethical business practices.

Presidential spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that the bill sought to ensure free competition for commercial and economic activities and was aimed at protecting consumers from monopoly, cartelisation and other bad marketing practices.

It seeks to establish the Competition Commission of Pakistan that is tasked, among other things, with prohibiting commercial enterprises from unfairly using their dominant position in market through such unethical practices as limiting production and price discrimination etc.

The bill was adopted by the National Assembly earlier this year and by the Senate in May. With the presidential assent, it had now become a law, the spokesman said.

A Reporter in Islamabad adds: The CCP is a statutory body, but its ordinance was promulgated three times between November last year and August this year.

It had been a defunct entity since Aug 14 as the Competition Ordinance, 2009, had lapsed after completion of three months.

As per directives of the Supreme Court, ordinances promulgated by the previous government were subject to validation by parliament by Nov 28 last year.

The Competition Bill was tabled in the National Assembly in November.

The CCP’s chairperson, Rahat Kaunain Hassan, said the transition from a temporary to permanent phase would help the commission face numerous legal challenges in courts where a number of sectors had questioned the constitutional status of the body after decisions were made against them.

The CCP is facing over two dozen cases filed by cement, stock exchange, educational institutions, telecom, LPG and refineries.

Proceedings are in progress against sugar, fertilisers, PIA, Takaful insurance and other sectors.

Ms Hassan said the government should also set up an appellate tribunal, as required under the law.

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