The National Assembly on Tuesday passed three separate bills to amend Pakistan Army Act, 1952, Pakistan Air Force Act, 1953, and Pakistan Navy Ordinance, 1961, allowing for extension in the tenures of three services chiefs. Minister for Defence Pervaiz Khan Khattak presented the bills in the Lower House. The three bills introduced in the House were Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2020, Pakistan Air Force (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and Pakistan Navy (Amendment) Bill, 2020. These bills also determined the tenure, reappointment or extension in tenure of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Earlier, Standing Committee on Defence Chairman Amjid Ali Khan presented the reports of the committee on these bills, which were referred to it on January 3 after introduction in the House.Defence Minister Pervez Khattak requested the Pakistan People’s Party to take back their recommendations regarding amendments to the bills ‘in light of the regional situation’. “This will create unity in the house and will create a better situation,” he said. Syed Naveed Qamar announced taking back amendments. “Keeping in mind the situation in the country and the new situation in the region and after consulting with the rest of the opposition, and in order to send a unified message, we (PPP) have decided not to press these amendments,” he said.The legislators of Muttahidda Majlis-e-Amal and two independents from erstwhile FATA, however, walked out from the assembly in protest against the bills. Speaker Asad Qaiser conducted a clause by clause reading of each bill, one after the other, putting them up for a voice vote. Prime Minister Imran Khan was also at the National Assembly to attend the session of the Lower House. The session was later adjourned till 4pm on Wednesday (today).Later, the Senate Standing Committee on Defence also gave its nod to the three bills. In a session of the Senate, all the three bills had been presented by federal minister Azam Swati. During the presentation, members from the opposition benches belonging to Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and National Party (NP) opposed the bills, chanting slogans of ‘no, no’. Subsequently, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani forwarded the three bills to the committee for approval. Later, Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak said that the bills had been passed unanimously by the committee. When asked if any amendments had been put forth by the PPP, Khattak replied in the negative. He said the bills will be approved by the Senate on Wednesday (today).Prior to the session of the National Assembly, separate meetings of the PTI and PML-N parliamentary committees were held. Meanwhile, a government delegation also met with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in his chamber.A day earlier, the National Assembly’s standing committee on defence had unanimously approved the bills during an in-camera session, an indication that the government and opposition have reached an accord on the passage of the bill. Speaking to media after the session, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Tuesday lauded major parliamentary parties for demonstrating greater unity in the National Assembly and setting aside political differences for passage of amendments in the three bills in the supreme national interest. “Political parties did exhibit unity and maturity in important legislation that is linked with national security,” she said while talking to media outside the Parliament House.She said it is the hallmark of democracy that political parties have their own stances and criticise each other on different issues, but they opted for unison and unity when it was a matter of the national interest. “I pay tributes to all political parties and their leadership, especially Pakistan People’s Party which withdrew its proposed amendments in the bills,” she said, stressing the need to take forward the reconciliation process in the country.Dr Firdous said unanimous passage of the legislation has also conveyed a clear message to the adversaries of Pakistan that all political parties are united to protect the national interest. “I am hopeful that the same spirit of unity will be witnessed in the parliament in future too on the legislation related to public and national interest,” she said, and expressed confidence that the country will progress under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, terming the 2020 the year of ‘hope and development’ as the masses will get relief and fruits of improved economy. She said political stability always leads to better national economy and brings foreign investment giving a boost to economic activities in the country.