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Government Tables Army Act Amendments Bill in National Assembly

The government on Friday has tabled the Army Act amendments bill in the National Assembly for approval after winning the backing of the opposition parties for the legislation.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak presented three bills in the lower house of the parliament today, including the Pakistan Air Force (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and Pakistan Navy (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

According to a copy of the bill available with Geo News, an extension in the tenure of an army chief will not be challenge-able in any court of law in the future if the bill is approved by both the houses of the parliament.

Under the clause 8B of the bill, the president, on the advice of the prime minister, may “reappoint the Chief of the Army Staff for additional tenure of three (03) years, on such terms and conditions, as may be determined by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister, in the national security interest or exigencies, from time to time”.

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“Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other law, or any order or judgment of any Court, the appointment, reappointment or extension of the Chief of the Army Staff, or the exercise of discretion by the appointing authority in this regard, shall not be called into question before any court on any ground whatsoever,’ the bill states.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has decided to ‘unconditionally support’ the Army Act amendment, meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said that ‘democratic legislative process’ must be followed as the bill is approved.

The bills are also expected to be tabled in the Senate today. Additionally, a joint meeting of the Senate and National Assembly standing committees on defence has been called at 2 pm, Friday.

Saman Siddiqui

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