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PPP Objects to Rushing of Army Chief Extension Bill in National Assembly

Published Jan 06, 2020
Updated Feb 25, 2020

Bills to amend the Pakistan Army Act, 1952, Pakistan Air Force Act, 1953, and Pakistan Navy Ordinance, 1961 have been introduced in the Pakistan National Assembly.

There is apparently is no resistance from the opposition parties but for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Jamaat e Islami Fazlur Rehman (JUIF). The main opposition party Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz has announced support for the bill which has earned kudos from the government.

While the bill includes all three service chiefs, the main issue is extension of tenure to General Bajwa the Army Chief which had come under observation by the Supreme Court.

The parliament is most certainly likely to pass the amendments now with possibly an overwhelming majority this may also be a signal to the Supreme Court that there is consensus on the issue. The petition for revision of the ruling by the Supreme Court is also pending which may come up for hearing.

The PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari however blamed the PML-N for surrendering before the government on the Army Act amendment bill and has sought that proper procedure should be followed before presentation of the Bill in the parliament.

“Today we have been told that the bill will be presented in Defence Committee. I think that this is a small success for our Parliament, for our democratic system and for our parliamentary norms,” he said while addressing a press conference at the Parliament House. At the same time he is realistic enough to recognise that his party will not be able to influence the vote.

“I have 50 votes in the assembly and cannot affect even a coma or full stop in the law. I think that the way the PML-N and PTI want to pass this bill and want to sidestep the parliamentary procedure will harm our institution, our army, and we are repeating the same mistakes which were done in notification phase,” he said pragmatically.

JUIF Fazlur Rehman who had organised the Azadi March against the PTI government a few weeks back has also objected to the Bill.