History is going to made as the National Assembly is giving section-wise approval of the Constitutional Reforms Bill, Jazba Blog reported Thursday.
As yet, the power to dissolve the assemblies has been taken back from President, of the State and the governors, 17th Amendment was abolished, name of NWFP has been renamed as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and dictator General Zia-ul-Haq name has also been removed from the Constitution.
Two hundred and fifty-eight MNAs voted to repeal the 17th Amendment and the legal framework order of the Musharraf regime at the NA session on Thursday.
The NA session was delayed for over an hour due to poor attendance of participating MNAs whose presence was necessary for the voting on the 18th Amendment bill.
The lower house of the parliament, adopted unanimously the Section-2 of the Constitutional Reforms Bill (18th Amendment) relating the elimination of the 17th Amendment imposed by former President Pervez Musharraf, which had given sweeping powers to the president of Pakistan including power to dissolve the national and provincial assemblies and others.
The amendment includes drastically reducing the level of power held by the president of Pakistan as well as the renaming of the NWFP as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
5 members of PML-Q including Sardar Shah Jehan Yousuf, Marvi Memon, Amir Muqam, Kishmala Tari and Farzana Mushtaq tabled two amendments in the third clause of bill wherein renaming of NWFP was involved.
Sardar Shah Jehan Yousuf and Amir Muqam said they had severe reservations on the name of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Farzana Mushtaq Ghani said 18th amendment should be written in golden words in the history but it would be fully tainted with renaming the NWFP as Pukhtoonkhawa. Ideology of Pakistan would be buried from the day NWFP would be renamed as Pukhtoonkhawa, she added.
Kishmala Tariq demanded NWFP name should be changed through referendum. Chairman Committee Raza Rabbani asked what referendum was conducted when the name of other provinces was changed. The house passed the 3rd clause with 264 votes against 20. PML-N members Capt (Retd) Safdar, Sardar Mehtab and Sahibzada Fazal Karim did not take part in the voting . Clauses including 4 and 5 were passed with 286 votes while no vote was cast against it.
Presenting amendment in clause 6 Kishmala Tariq said democracy was being robbed by eliminating intra party elections. During the voting on clause 6, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Khawaja Saad Rafiq, Kishmala Tariq and Israr Tareen cast votes against this clause while 278 members supported it. Clause 7 was also passed with majority vote.
Tabling an amendment in clause 8, Kishmala Tariq said 30 percent seats be reserved for women which was rejected and the clause was approved with 265 votes against 4.
However, the National Assembly dismissed the opposition voiced by the PML-Q over the renaming of the NWFP.
Two hundred and eighty-six MNAs voted in favour of the amendment in Article 6 of the Constitution.
Clause 9 was also approved under which it would be mandatory for the state to provide free of cost education to the children in the age groups ranging between 5 to 16 years.
Clauses 10 and 11 were approved with 274 and 268 votes against nil. Under clause 11 the cabinet would be answerable to national assembly as well as senate.
The clause 14 was passed with 272 votes against nil. Clause 15 was also approved with 272 votes and no one opposed it. Under this clause it would be binding upon the prime minister to seek permission from the joint session of parliament to hold referendum in future and president would announce to hold the elections within 90 days of the dissolution of assembly.
Electronic board installed in the national assembly could not work during the process of counting. All the key leaders of the ruling party including prime minister remained active during the legislation process pertaining to 18th amendment.