ISLAMABAD Kowtowing to the powerful mafia, the Government has been exhibiting criminal negligence towards the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) as well as its law currently in the form of re-promulgated ordinance that would expire again on March 28. The National Assembly has already passed the bill of the competition law for enactment of the Ordinance into an Act of the Parliament but the mafia has managed to stall it in the Senate. The Senate in its last session has referred the bill to the relevant standing committee of the Upper House where it is feared to linger on. In case the process of the legislation takes beyond March 28, the re-promulgated Competition Commission Ordinance 2009 would expire unless President Asif Ali Zardari promulgates it for the third time to give it another lease of life for the next four months. The precarious situation, especially for the incumbent regulators at the CCP, has arisen due to lack of interest on part of the Government in having an effective and independent state watchdog against monopolistic, hegemonic and exploitative practices of the private businesses. Well-placed sources in the Government observed that the power mafia and cartels seemed to have prevailed across the power corridors to render the CCP ineffective as well as toothless, if not non-existent. Apart from giving a cold shoulder to the legislation required as a prerequisite to the open market economy, the Government has also moved deliberately in favour of cartels by reducing the level of the court of appeal against decision of the CCP. Rather than changing the court of appeal from Supreme Court to the High Court through an amendment in the law, the Government did so in a bizarre manner. The sources were of the view that the Government had changed the court of appeal through a corrigenda rather than an amendment, obviously, to belittle the CCP. Ironically, the CCPs petition against this bizarre move of the Government is awaiting the honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan to fix a date of its hearing. In case the plea of the CCP (of having an effective and independent law of competition in order to rein in the mafia and cartels) is not heard either at the apex court or by the Government in time, the people of Pakistan would be deprived of a watchdog supposed to protects their rights against the usurpers, dodgers, exploiters, cartels, monopolies, mafia.