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Pakistan passes key constitutional reforms, renames NWFP

Apr 09, 2010

The National Assembly has approved the 18th Amendment unanimously, deleting former military dictator Ziaul Haq’s name from the constitution. The new bill sent to the Senate for approval, repeals the Legal Framework Order, strips the President of some powers, and renames NWFP as Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa.

Islamabad, Pakistan: The National Assembly has approved 18th Amendment unanimously by adopting 102 clauses and annulled the 17th Amendment besides approving the renaming of NWFP as Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa on Thursday.

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No member of the National Assembly has voted against the 18th Amendment. Total 292 votes were cast by the NA members.

The bill repealed Legal Framework Order(LFO) as well as 17th amendment which were the symbols of dictatorial regime. General Zia-ul-Haq’s name has also been stricken out from the constitution.

The clauses adopted contained important ones like repeal of LFO and the Constitution (Seventeenth Amendment) Act 2003, renaming of NWFP as ‘Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa,’ Freedom of Association, Right to Information, Right to Education, Intra-Party elections, women seats, substitution of Article 58, increasing Senate seats to 104, increasing the days of Senate session from 90 to 110 days, qualification and disqualification of membership of Parliament, introduction and passing of bill, Omission of Article 71, number of Cabinet members, Speakers Provincial Assemblies to act as Governors in their absence, dissolution of provincial assembly, Local Government, Substitution of Article 143, Substitution of Federal Legislative List, Constitution of Council of Common Interest, Constitution of National Economic Council, shares of provinces in National Finance Commission, Amendment of Article 157, payment of royalty to provinces, province to raise domestic or international loans, appointment of Auditor General, constitution of Islamabad High Court, appointment of Judges, abolishment of Concurrent Legislative List and appointment of Chief Election Commissioner.

Except on the issue of renaming the NWFP, where PML-Q opposed the clause, and in some other cases where individual members moved amendments, all remaining clauses were adopted unanimously with two third majority.

The members moved amendments in clauses III, VI, VIII and clause XVI that were rejected by the House with majority vote. These clauses were then adopted by the House with votes not less than two/third of the total membership of National Assembly.

The NA passed Clause 17, of the 18th Amendment bill, 2010, to substitute Article 58 of the Constitution with ‘Dissolution of the National Assembly’. “Under the Clause, the President shall dissolve the National Assembly if so advised by the Prime Minister; and the National Assembly shall, unless sooner dissolved, stand dissolved at the expiration of 48 hours after the Prime Minister has so advised.

National Assembly on Thursday passed the Clause-3 of the 18th Amendment Bill, 2010 that deals with the renaming of NWFP province as “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” and changing of spells of Balochistan and Sindh provinces.;The NA repealed the Legal Framework Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 24 of 2002), with majority of the vote. The House passed the clause two of the bill further to amend the Constitution (18th amendment) bill, 2010 with 258 votes in favour of the clause.

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