In a first, both the government and major opposition parties on Tuesday joined hands to approve in the National Assembly all three bills formalising the tenure of the three services chiefs, including Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
According to Geo News, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan made a rare appearance in the Lower House of the parliament as the assembly voted on three bills that will formalise the tenures of the army, navy and air force chiefs.
Before the voting started, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak took the floor to request the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) that it take back amendments it had suggested to the bills, saying he was making the request “keeping in mind the regional and national situation”.
Naveed Qamar, who spoke on behalf of the PPP in response to Khattak’s request, said that the amendments had been suggested to improve the bills but, after being approached by a government delegation and consulting with the rest of the opposition, the party had decided to withdraw them.
With voting commencing shortly after the dialogue, Speaker Asad Qaiser asked legislators to express their assent or dissent. The bills were voted on clause by clause.
Some opposition lawmakers, including those from Jamaate Islami (JI), the Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), walked out in protest over the bills. They had earlier announced they would not be supporting the bills on principle. All the major parties had, however, lent near unquestioning assent to the same.
After voting on the bills concluded, the National Assembly session was adjourned till 4 pm on Wednesday.
The bills will now be sent for approval to the Senate Standing Committee on Defence before they are voted on in the Senate, and become law once signed by the president.