Senate to take up landmark bill to clip Zardari's powers | world | Hindustan Times
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Senate to take up landmark bill to clip Zardari's powers

world Updated: Apr 09, 2010 20:49 IST
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Pakistan's Senate on Monday will take up a landmark amendment bill that seeks to strip President Asif Ali Zardari of his sweeping powers of dismissing a democratically elected government and undo changes made to the constitution by former military dictators.

The reforms will effectively make Zardari a titular head of the state after transfer of certain powers from the office of the President to the Prime Minister.

The bill, which has a total of 102 clauses, repeals the president's powers to appoint the three service chiefs, dissolve parliament and dismiss the elected prime minister.

Official sources said the 18th constitutional amendment bill had been sent to the Senate or upper house of Parliament by the National Assembly, the lower house, which passed the amendments with a two-thirds majority yesterday.

According to a schedule drawn up earlier, the bill will be considered by the Senate on Monday.

Officials had initially assumed that the debate on the bill in the National Assembly would continue till the weekend and had thus scheduled the discussions in the Senate for next week.

The sources dismissed a media report that the bill was not tabled in the Senate due to a lack of quorum.

They pointed out that the bill was not even on today's agenda for the Senate. Once the bill is passed by the Senate with a two-thirds majority, it will be sent to Zardari for his assent.

Officials said the bill is unlikely to face any major opposition in the Senate as legislation enjoyed cross-party support.

It also removes numerous changes made to the constitution of 1973 by former military rulers Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf.