The Senate on Wednesday 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 the three services chiefs. The Upper House of Parliament accorded approval to all the three bills – the Pakistan Army Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020, Pakistan Navy Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and Pakistan Air Force (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – with majority votes. Minister for Defence Pervez Khan Khattak presented the bills in the House. While both major opposition parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan People’s Party, supported the bills, Paskhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party, National Party and Jamat-e-Islami protested against the legislation and kept raising slogans. After the passage from the Upper House, the bills will be forwarded to President Arif Alvi for his assent. As soon as the bills were passed, the Senate chairman adjourned the session. Talking to reporters in London, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif said the amendment in the Army Act is not unconstitutional and hence it was supported unconditionally. He said the Supreme Court had ordered legislation regarding extension in army chief’s tenure within six months. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the passage of services chiefs bills by the parliament is a practical example of political maturity shown by political parties on the issues of national unity and harmony. Talking to media flanked by Leader of the House in Senate Shibli Faraz and Chairman of Senate’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting Faisal Javaid, she said all the political parties joined hands for passage of bills in the larger national interest. There is need for further improvement in national harmony and unity on the issues of national importance, while keeping in view the regional situation, she stressed. Dr Firdous said the political harmony and national unity exhibited on the issue was a clear message for the country’s enemies that the nation is united on important national matters. She said with the passage of the bill, the lacuna in the relevant act has been removed as was directed by the Supreme Court. She expressed the hope that the opposition will support the government in legislation related to public-welfare issues as well. Disagreement on political matters is beauty of democracy and right of the opposition, she said, adding that the government will always welcome constructive criticism and accommodate the proposals of the opposition in the larger national interest. Senator Shibli Faraz said it is praiseworthy that all the opposition parties have supported the government in the legislation related to national security, and hoped that they will back other bills in the public interest, which will further strengthen the parliament. Senator Faisal Javaid said the passage of the bills from the Senate, where the ruling party does not have majority, is a proof of maturity shown by the opposition parties. The start of the year 2020 is very positive and the opposition parties will hopefully support the government on bills like Zainab Alert Bill also, he added.