PPP sets up panel to review draft bill on Army Act

Updated January 06, 2020

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Senator Raza Rabbani said any amendment suggested in the bill should follow the parliamentary procedures. — DawnNewsTv/File
Senator Raza Rabbani said any amendment suggested in the bill should follow the parliamentary procedures. — DawnNewsTv/File

KARACHI: Expressing its reservations over the bill drafted by the federal government to amend the Army Act to settle the issue of extension in the army chief’s tenure, the central executive committee (CEC) of the Pakistan Peoples Party has formed a committee to recommend various amendments to the bill.

At a meeting presided over by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari at Bilawal House on Sunday, the party’s CEC decided to contact the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and other political parties to discuss proposed alterations in the proposed bill.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Senator Raza Rabbani said the present piece of legislation was not in consonance with the directives of the Supreme Court.

He said the committee comprised Senator Sherry Rehman, Nayyar Bukhari and Syed Naveed Qamar

He said any amendment suggested in the bill should follow the parliamentary procedures; adding that the procedures of the Army Act amendments be handed over to the members of the parliamentary committees concerned. “These procedures have not yet been shared with the standing committees as yet. It will be befitting for the federal government to make them known.”

Rabbani says present piece of legislation to amend Army Act is not in consonance with Supreme Court’s directive

He said the PPP desired to propose certain changes in the amendment bill.

He said the CEC meeting was attended by Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Faryal Talpur, Nisar Khuhro, Nafeesa Shah, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Senator Maula Bux Chandio and other PPP leaders.

During the meeting, the participants discussed the issue and made certain policy decisions.

The meeting also discussed the current situation in the country.

Mr Rabbani said the present constitution was given by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the PPP had greater understanding of the parliamentary procedures.

“PPP wants that proper parliamentary course of action should be followed in relation to the amendment to the Army Act,” he added.

He made it clear that the PPP sincerely wanted to play a positive role regarding the issue.

“We are sincere to play a positive role in this matter for which contacts with the political parties including PML-Nawaz will be made for discussion.” He said due to clear stance taken by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the parliamentary process had started on the bill.

Mr Rabbani would not elaborate over possible changes in the draft bill that could be suggested by the PPP, saying: “I will not discuss in detail such changes in the draft bill at this point of time apart from this that the Peoples Party will propose certain changes and submit them during the meeting of the standing committee. He said the PTI-led government was hasty enough to get the bill passed and the PML-N too supported it fast; but that was Bilawal on whose demand the issue was brought to the parliamentary process.

He reiterated the rules and regulations of the Army Act should be made known, so that they could be examined in detail by the members of the standing committee.

Published in Dawn, January 6th, 2020