Pakistan delays voting on military courts bill

Indo Asian News Service

Islamabad, March 20 (IANS) The Pakistan government has decided to delay voting on a crucial bill seeking revival of military courts, a media report said.

The step was taken following fears in the government that it may not be able to ensure the presence of a maximum number of legislators on Monday evening, when the National Assembly (NA) is set to resume its session after a two-day recess, Dawn news reported.

A meeting of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's (PML-N) parliamentary party scheduled for Monday has also been postponed and will now be held on Tuesday.

The sources said NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq called the parliamentary leaders of several political parties on Sunday and informed them on the change of plans, which was originally taken on March 16.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced that the constitutional amendment bill and the amendment to the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) would be put to vote on Tuesday (tomorrow).

"The house will discuss the consensus bills on Monday and the same will be put to vote on Tuesday, as discussed by the National Assembly speaker with parliamentary leaders," the minister said.

The government and the opposition last week agreed to extend the tenure of military courts.

The proposed 28th Constitution Amendment Bill is similar to the 21st amendment, which was enforced in 2015 to establish military courts for a period of two years.