Senate committee, NA approve services acts amendment bills.

ISLAMABAD -- The National Assembly and the Senate Standing Committee on Defence on Tuesday lent their approval to three bills formalising the length of tenure of the three services chiefs.

Defence Minister Pervez Khattak spoke to media, confirming that the bills have been unanimously passed. 'No political party presented any amendment to the bill.'

The bills propose amendments to the Army Act 1952, Pakistan Air Force Act 1953 and the Pakistan Navy Ordinance 1961.

He added that approval from the Senate on the amendment bills will be taken tomorrow (Wednesday).

Earlier today, the National Assembly had given its approval to the three bills.

Prime Minister Imran Khan made a rare appearance in the Lower House as the assembly voted on the bills.

Before the start of voting, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak had taken the floor to request the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that it take back amendments it had suggested to the bills, saying he was making the request "keeping in mind the regional and national situation".

Naveed Qamar, who spoke on behalf of the PPP in response to Khattak's request, noted that the amendments had been suggested to improve the bills but, after being approached by a government delegation and consulting with the rest of the opposition, the party had decided to withdraw them.

Voting commenced shortly thereafter, with Speaker Asad Qaiser asking legislators to express their assent or dissent with 'Ayes' and 'Nays'. The bills were voted on clause by clause.

Some opposition lawmakers, including MNAs from the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl and representatives from erstwhile Fata walked out in protest over the bills. They had earlier announced they would not be supporting the bills on principle.

All the major parties had, however, lent near unquestioning assent to them.

After voting on the bills concluded, the National Assembly session was adjourned till 4pm on Wednesday.

'National security first challenge of Pakistan'

Addressing the media after the session of the National Assembly, Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan said politicians "have come forward whenever the country needs them".

'Today, all the political parties, especially the PPP, showed that they can work together for...

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