NA, Senate pass 21st Constitutional Amendment, Army Act Amendment

Published: January 6, 2015
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A file photo of National Assembly. PHOTO: APP

A file photo of National Assembly. PHOTO: APP

A file photo of National Assembly. PHOTO: APP A file photo of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly and Senate on Tuesday passed the 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill 2015 and Pakistan Army Act 1952  (Amendment) Bill 2015. 

The Constitutional Amendment Bill was passed with 247 votes – 14 more than the required two-third majority in the NA, and 78 votes out of 104 were passed in the Senate.

The amendment – aimed to set up special courts to try militants – was not opposed by any member present inside the house. Lawmakers from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Sheikh Rasheed abstained from voting.

Each clause of the bill was voted for separately. The bill is now expected to be signed into law by the president this week.

It will stay on the books for two years, allowing special courts to try anyone accused of terrorism offences.

Earlier Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met parliamentarians to convince them to vote in favour of the proposed constitutional amendment and reiterated that the current extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary measures.

The bill was presented in the National Assembly seeking changes in the Constitution and Military Act to speed up trial of terrorists after Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan gunmen killed over a hundred schoolchildren in an attack on December 16, 2014.

Despite political parties extending support to these steps in an all parties meeting, many dissenting voices marred yesterday’s assembly session in which the bills were meant to be passed.

Voting was deferred till today and PM Nawaz held a meeting with other lawmakers at the Speaker’s chamber to discuss the bill.

He requested all parliamentarians to inform their voters about the measures taken to eliminate the scourge of terrorism.

Govt will decide which cases are referred to military courts: Nawaz

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said the government would decide which cases are referred to military courts.

The premier, while addressing the Senate shortly after the National Assembly passed the 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill 2015 and Pakistan Army Act 1952 (Amendment) Bill 2015, said all parties were a part of the decision-making process. He said these bills would play an important role in the fight against terror.

Nawaz further expressed confidence that the 20-point National Action Plan against terrorism would help restore durable peace in the country, according to Radio Pakistan.

The prime minister said the 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill 2015 and the Pakistan Army Act 1952 (Amendment) Bill 2015 would go a long way in effectively trying hardcore terrorists.

“Everyone gave advice regarding the amendments, and all parties unanimously agreed to them,” the prime minister said, adding that he was hopeful of the bills being passed in the Upper House as well.

Further, the prime minister addressed the abstinence of votes in the NA, saying, “If they didn’t vote in the NA, they should at least vote in the Senate. They have been harmed by terrorists as well.”
Nawaz said the reservations of the parties who did not vote were addressed this morning as well as this afternoon.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • raider
    Jan 6, 2015 - 12:57PM

    congratulations, to the nation for civil governance failure

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  • Ahmad
    Jan 6, 2015 - 12:59PM

    Thank God, now the Army has a free hand to rid Pakistan of it’s internal enemies.

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  • K Alam
    Jan 6, 2015 - 1:04PM

    Congratulations to the nation for DRAWING A LINE Between those who are still supporting the religious fanatics, religious extremism and sectarianism in the garb of opposing military courts.

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  • nadeem
    Jan 6, 2015 - 1:07PM

    Shame on parliamentarians, politicians and elected representatives for abdicating their responsibility to reform the justice sytem

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  • AsR
    Jan 6, 2015 - 1:14PM

    So army has got free hand to end the monster that it created 35 years ago.

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  • Parvez
    Jan 6, 2015 - 1:31PM

    This was a natural response to a SHAM democracy…….that failed miserably to deliver for the people.

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  • Asad
    Jan 6, 2015 - 1:36PM

    Congrats ! But what was the point of Breakfast Party for parliamentarians after multi-dish APC’s with their party heads ?

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  • Wali
    Jan 6, 2015 - 1:43PM

    Waiting to hear the PM will now constitute a new committee under Ishaq Dar on the Military Courts!!!!

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  • Zain ul abideen
    Jan 6, 2015 - 1:46PM

    Finally the good for nothing parliament of Pakistan has conceded to its failures

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  • Aysha M
    Jan 6, 2015 - 2:11PM

    Courtesy the 8th cardinal sin ‘strategic depth’

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  • sensible
    Jan 6, 2015 - 2:26PM

    !I don’t like JI or JIUF …but their concern is valid ! Why a terrorist from TTP is considered terrorist but not from mqm or balochi insurgency. ……This is not fair ….looks like Govt. is not serious in addressing the issue of terrorism.The parliament completely ignored the unprovoked terrorism coming from India in the form of cross border fire.A lesson should be taught. …

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  • Bewildered
    Jan 6, 2015 - 2:40PM

    I am so disappointed by PTI, even though I prefer them over PML(N) as a lesser evil. My appreciations to Nawaz Sharif for his leadership and unwavering resolve recently shown to eliminate terrorism by whatever means necessary. Thank you Nawaz Sharif for this.

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  • bash gul
    Jan 6, 2015 - 2:48PM

    This bill was not passed in the interest of the nation, but in the interest of having a free breakfast with the PM.

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  • Hassan Baigal
    Jan 6, 2015 - 2:52PM

    Good news for the nation of Pakistan. First time in the history of Pakistan army, government, opposition parties and relgio-political are on same page to tackle the terrorism, extremism and sectarianism. Bill passed by National Assembly for establishing military courts is a big achievement.

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  • Ranjha
    Jan 6, 2015 - 3:00PM

    PTI, JI and JUI-F lawmak­ers abstai­n from voting;

    PTI has resigned from the parliament so there is no question of “abstaining.” Pure, yellow journalism!

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  • Jawad Iqbal Jawad
    Jan 6, 2015 - 3:22PM

    This is rebirth of Pakistan. The forces who opposed Pakistan in 1947 are still reluctant to protect it against the terrorists.

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  • khan420
    Jan 6, 2015 - 3:25PM

    So JI, JUI and PTI are against military courts. So are human rights groups and the so called leftists. For once, far right and far left have the same opinion !!!

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  • Jan 6, 2015 - 3:42PM

    This is the basic difference between secular parties and religious fanatics,the first is following the nation and the second is stand with terrorists.Recommend

  • shabby
    Jan 6, 2015 - 3:48PM

    Mr Sensible ,

    You Have criminal mind why MQM,and Baloch only ? Why not Criminal of PPP in LAIRI, ANP Criminal in Qasba, PML (N) Criminal in Lahore ,They killed Women , JI Criminal ,
    JIay Sindh Criminal , PTI Criminal at Sohrab Goth ????? Open your Eyes

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  • A Khan
    Jan 6, 2015 - 4:06PM

    Poor reporting by Express. PTI is no longer part of Parliament and they have repeatedly said that they will not attend parliament unless rigging issue is solved. Therefore there is no question of them “abstaining” from voting on it. They have supported the current bill in APC. Similar Sheikh Rashid has also supported military courts and this bill. JI and JUI parliamentarians have actually abstained from supporting it in Parliament.

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  • Rex Minor
    Jan 6, 2015 - 4:23PM

    Who exactly has the license to kill in Pakistan now without a judicial process but through areal bombings or trials in military courts? is it the civilian Sharif or the army Sharif? The Talibans will still have the upper hand by sending aries special emmissaries to escort the guests in person to the paradise!!

    Rex Minor

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  • Acorn Guts
    Jan 6, 2015 - 4:27PM

    Brilliant show of resolve .. I’m impressed! Not saying that this is the solution to our problems but at least it gets the message out that we’re serious about the terrorism nonsense now.

    Well done to all those who voted. To those who abstained .. well they should have voted against it if they are so friendly with ‘other side’ .. clearly shows their lack of direction

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  • Rex Minor
    Jan 6, 2015 - 4:27PM

    @mohd sultan:

    And who do you reckon will loose? Certainly not the religious parties considering the bearded army personnel who sooner or later will be compelled to side with the religious parties.

    Rex Minor

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  • Fm
    Jan 6, 2015 - 4:48PM

    Congrats to PM and all the parties that voted in favor. Those who abstains identifies to which side they stand. It is shameful. How can you fight terrorism through civil courts when they released mullah burqa who killed military officers and hosted terrorists in Lal Masjid. And the killer of Gov. Taseer is not hanged yet.

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  • PAKISTANI
    Jan 6, 2015 - 5:50PM

    @sensible,
    your comment shows that you don’t know, what is the difference between a criminal and terrorist, i aint supporting any party but one should have the knowledge about who is worst?? a criminal or terrorist,your thought will make us obsolete and old ages where no technology,education trade business etc etc which is the back bone of state.
    criminal is better then terrorist when you don’t have any choices and its the very time for this
    We must have to support those who aren’t sympathizers of those cold blooded terrorist. .

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  • Whiskey Khan
    Jan 6, 2015 - 6:39PM

    Pakistan, Which has Now has taken the only effective measure available to deal with the terrorist, Hopefully will have some peace, All Neighbours should corporate with Pakistan to help eradicate terrorism altogether from the region.

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  • oBSERVER
    Jan 6, 2015 - 6:45PM

    Nawaz Sharif got a lease of life for min two years. He couldn’t care about terrorism or terrorists as long he is still PM.Now you know how ‘ concerned’ was he about this bill coming through! The Down side is he could be relieved of his onerous duties in a jiffy as his younger brother gestured denying his hand in Modal Town massacre.

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  • bash gul
    Jan 6, 2015 - 6:47PM

    Why is Senator Raza Rabbani crying, saying that it was against his conscience voting for the bill. Maybe because he had had breakfast with the PM. Wished there a clause added mentioning that any corruption in the government departments will be punished by the death penalty!!! It shows that thanks to the Pak Army, the civilian government has totally failed in all fields

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  • Ahmed Shafique
    Jan 6, 2015 - 7:14PM

    @sensible:

    The concern of JUI is totally invalid. The terrorist from TTP is very different than one from nationalistic militant organisations as TTP’s agenda is to impose their version of Sharia by force. As opposed to this MQM, JSQM, Baloch nationalists and others took up arms when state oppressed the respective ethnic communities. It was reactionary and is a struggle for rights where most remain pacifist and some have resorted to militancy to gain their legitimate rights.

    We HAVE NOT violated rights of TTP terrorists! They have been terrorising the country under various name for decades now and they seek a forceful implementation of Sharia law in Pakistan which most Pakistanis do not want. Please take your terrorist supporting mindset to Gulf where terrorism is whole heartedly encourage as long as its in Muslim countries outside GCC.

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  • Jan 6, 2015 - 8:07PM

    I appreciate to the member of Assembly who passed the bill without any Problem. I hope this law will secure the rights of minorities.

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  • Rizwan
    Jan 6, 2015 - 9:25PM

    Good news for the nation of Pakistan. First time in the history of Pakistan army, government, opposition parties and relgio-political are on same page to tackle the terrorism, extremism and sectarianism. Bill passed by National Assembly for establishing military courts is a big achievement.Recommend

  • rohit950723
    Jan 6, 2015 - 10:43PM

    Pakistan needs to be Secular, if it wants to have prosperity & peace….

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  • Pindi Kid
    Jan 6, 2015 - 11:27PM

    Great accomplishment! I am opposed to PMLN, PPP, but have to give credit where it is due. This bill was a dire need of the country and the way Nawaz Sharif took it upon himself to get this passed is commendable. Same for PPP and MQM for supporting it. Shame on PTI as they could have made a one time exception and shown up with maybe a token member to vote in favor to show their support, but Imran Khan cannot even get himself to name TTP, much less vote for the bill. JI and JUIF proved where they stand and that is with TTP, so no surprise there. Lastly, the highest credit for this bill goes to the Pakistani public as without their overwhelming support in favor of this bill these politicians will never have passed it. There is some light at the end of the tunnel for this fledgeling democracy.

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  • Igloo
    Jan 7, 2015 - 2:15AM

    @Bewildered: What’s the reason to be disappointed by them? They resigned from the parliament a while back so no question of voting for or against an amendment.

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  • T Khan
    Jan 7, 2015 - 2:31AM

    Not sure if this is going to solve anything.
    The Government has the sole right to feed the cases to these courts, which, in Pakistan, means that whosoever we want killed will be put before the court but the ones we want to protect will never stand a trial… and the burden of care will be on Army if these people are not cleaned up.
    To naked eye it seems like a sham and way to win some more free time.

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