The Senate on Wednesday approved the three bills regarding the tenure of the three services chiefs — chief of army staff, chief of air staff and chief of naval staff — and the chairman of the joint chief of staff committee.
It is pertinent here to mention that the National Assembly (NA) had approved the amendment bills on Tuesday despite being opposed by religious parties Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Jamaat-i-Islami (JI). Both parties didn’t participate in the voting process and walked out of the NA declaring it as “fake”
The bills, which were approved by the house’s standing committee on defence yesterday, were moved for voting, one after the other, by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani then put up these bills for a voice vote after a clause by clause reading of the amendments, with a majority of members in the upper house calling out “Aye”.
The session was adjourned immediately after the passage of the bills till Friday, 10:30am.
The bills — the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2020, the Pakistan Air Force (Amendment) Bill 2020 and the Pakistan Navy (Amendment) Bill 2020 — landed in the Senate on Tuesday. While they were not part of the original agenda issued for the Senate sitting yesterday, they were brought to the upper house through a supplementary agenda. In the absence of Defence Minister Pervez Khatak, the bills were introduced by the Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Swati amid the opposition’s uproar.
The Senate session lasted only 20 minutes and no other agenda other than the laying of a few reports was taken up.
Subsequently, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani forwarded the three bills to the Senate standing committee for approval, which held an emergency meeting within minutes after adjournment of the Senate sitting and passed them unanimously.
All eyes are now on President Arif Alvi, whose signatures on the bills will formalise them into law.