The Senate passed the 18th Amendment today, resulting an a roar of excitement on the floor of the Senate. The bill will go to President Zardari for his signature, and will undo the undemocratic measures adopted under Zia and Musharraf. Most importantly, though, the passage of the 18th Amendment demonstrates the power of Pakistan people to come together in unity for the promotion of democracy.
Express Tribune reports that the floor of the Senate erupted in excitement today as the 18th Amendment was passed.
The Senate resounded with desk thumping in approval of the 18th Amendment Bill being passed by the upper house, clearing the way for its implementation. Senate members raised slogans celebrating the landmark revival of the 1973 Constitution.
Members of the Parliament praised the president for the passage of the 18th Amendment.
Among the most important clauses which were approved with a majority consensus include:
– cancellation of the president’s power to dissolve the assemblies along with the removal of a bar on third time premiership.
– despite protests and unrest in the Hazara region against renaming of the NWFP, the clause was approved by the House unanimously.
– under the new amendments, the Election Commissioner will be appointed in consultation with the opposition leader.
– the number of cabinet members would be 11 per cent of the total membership of Parliament.
Later addressing the House, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani called it a historical day for Pakistan – one which saw all the democratic forces united on one platform.
PM Gilani spoke to the historic nature of the day, and the potential for democracy that was exhibited by all institutions working together.
Speaking on the floor of the Senate, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that education and health were the government’s top priorities in the 18th Amendment bill.
Gilani said that he believed this was the first time in the country’s history that the president, the prime minister, both houses of the parliament and even the opposition, were on the same page.
Gilani added that on this occasion, the army was also supporting the current democratic regime. Speaking to the upper house of the parliament, he said that the whole nation is proud of the Senate for approving the 18th Amendment.
Today is truly a day for celebration, not only of what we have acheived, but what we have proven to be possible.