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NA approves Army Act Amendment Bill 2017

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly has approved Army Act Amendment Bill 2017 on Tuesday extending tenure of the military courts for speedy trials of terrorists for two years.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif participated in the proceedings of the National Assembly session Tuesday. The amendment bill was tabled after parliamentary parties agreed over two-year extension in several meetings conducted earlier.

Taking part in the discussion, Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour of ANP supported the bill and said that elimination of terrorist mindset is imperative for eradication of terrorism from the country.

Ijaz-ul-Haq of PML-Z also supported the bill and said that revival of the military courts is need of the country and not that of the security forces. He said that military courts should continue to work till the elimination of terrorism from the country.

Dr Nafisa Shah of PPP said that military courts are working in a number of the democratic countries in the world. She said that we will vote in support of the bill because extraordinary measures are needed to address the menace of terrorism.

Winding up the discussion, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that after the expiry of the tenure of the military courts on 7th January this year, the government in consensus with all the parliamentary political parties decided to revive it.

He said fifteen meetings of Parliamentary Leaders and five meetings of the technical committee were held in this regard. He said it was agreed to revive the tenure of the military courts for next two years. He said the Parliamentary Committee on National Security that was constituted after the incident of Abbottabad, will also be revived through a resolution and it will oversight the functioning of the military courts.

The Minister said that the decision has been taken because the country is facing extraordinary challenges and the step will help to restore peace in the country.

Speaking on the bill, Law Minister said that keeping in view the extraordinary situation and circumstances constituting grave threat to the security and integrity of Pakistan from various terrorist groups, armed groups, wings and militia or their members, the Constitution (Twenty-first Amendment) Act, 2015 was passed enabling trial of causes related to terrorism under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952.

He said necessary amendments were also made in the Pakistan Army Act, 1952 through the Pakistan Army (Amendment) Act, 2015. He said these measures have yielded positive results in combating terrorism. He said it is, therefore, proposed to continue these special measures for a further period of two years through this bill.

Voting for the motion of “The Constitution (Twenty-eighth (Amendment) Bill, 2017” was held in the National Assembly.

253 Members voted in favour of the motion while four opposed the motion thereby showing two-third majority. Now the clause by clause reading of the bill is underway.

The motion moved by Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid provides to further amend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. NNI

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