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Pakistan President to sign key amendments bill on Monday

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, April 18, IRNA -- Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will sign on Monday key constitutional amendments that will strip him of his sweeping powers, presidential spokesman said on Sunday.

Senate and the National Assembly have already passed the amendments with majority votes and it will become part of the constitution after the President signs it.

“The signing ceremony of the Eighteenth Constitutional Amendment Bill will be held in the Presidency tomorrow on Monday,” Spokesperson to the President former Senator Farhatullah Babar said.

The President telephoned Sunday morning the opposition leader Mian Nawaz Shairif and invited him to witness the ceremony, the spokesman said and Mr. Sharif has accepted the invitation and will be attending the signing ceremony.

The amendments also include taking away the president's power to dismiss an elected government and appoint military chiefs. The amendments change name of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) as, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa (Khyber side of the land of the Pashtoons).

Earlier the constitution conferred vast powers on the president, including the power to appoint services chiefs, the head of the election commission and the head of the public service commission. The president also had the power to dismiss all or any of the central or provincial governments and parliaments.

The presidential spokesperson said that arrangements are being finalised for a ceremony befitting the historical occasion of reforming the Constitution and ridding it of all undemocratic clauses inserted into it by successive dictatorships.

The amendment declared as illegal all the measures taken by Pervez Musharraf, who took power in a bloodless coup in 1999 after dismissing the elected government of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

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End News / IRNA / News Code 1062997



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