ISLAMABAD: Parliament on Tuesday adopted the 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill and the The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2015 unopposed after 247 Members of National Assembly along with the Senate voted in favour of the laws aimed to set up constitutionally protected military courts to try civilian terrorism suspects. Members of the National Assembly belonging to the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F (JUI-F) abstained from voting. The session of National Assembly adjourned until 11am tomorrow (Jan 7). Speaking in the Senate, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif spoke as to why it was necessary to pass the amendment bill. "This bill is about military courts trying hardcore terrorists who kill Pakistanis...this is an important day for Pakistan when the nation decided that terrorists will be taken out from the roots," he said. â€œI want to thank all the party heads and their parliamentary representatives for attending committees and sharing their thoughts and advice on this highly important bill. This bill was created with the help of everyone's common agreement,â€ the PM said. "Through this bill, we can overcome the last 60 years of unrest which should have ended years ago," he said. The prime minister also expressed a conciliatory approach to political parties that did not vote in favor of the bill in the National Assembly. "The parties that were in disagreement of this law, we understood their point of view and tried our best to address their reservations and their point of view was also accommodated. "Therefore if they could not vote for it at the National Assembly I would urge them to vote for it in the Senate," he said.The provisions of the Act shall remain in force for a period of two years from the date of its commencement. The constitutional amendment bill was required to be passed by two-thirds of the total participants in both the 342-seat National Assembly and the 104-seat Senate; however, for amendment in the Army Act, a simple majority was required. Preambles to the bills The preambles to both the bills were largely identical, citing â€œextraordinary situation and circumstancesâ€ that they said demanded â€œspecial measures for speedy trial of certain offences relating to terrorism, waging of war or insurrection against Pakistanâ€ and prevention of acts threatening the countryâ€™s security by â€œany terrorist or terrorist group using the name of religion or a sect and members of such armed groups, wings and militiasâ€. However, the Pakistan Army (Amendment) added two key new sub-clauses in the existing act describing people or groups that could be punished under the new law. The sub-clauses (iii) and (iv), to be inserted in clause (d) of sub-section (1) of section 2, after sub-clause (ii) are: (iii) Any person who is or claims or is known to belong to any terrorist group or organisation using the name of religion or a sect and raises arms or wage war against Pakistan or attacks the armed forces of Pakistan and law enforcement agencies, or attacks any civil or military installation in Pakistan or kidnaps any person for ransom or causes death of any person or injury, or is in possession, storage, fabrication or transport of explosives, firearms, instruments, articles, suicide jackets or vehicles designed to be used for terrorist acts, or receives or provides funding from any foreign or local sources for such illegal activities and acts or does any act to overawe the state or any section of the public or a sect or a religious minority or to create terror or insecurity in Pakistan or attempts to commit any of the said acts, within or outside Pakistan shall be punished under this act; (iv): Any person who is or claims or is known to belong to any terrorist group or organisation using the name of religion or a sect, commits an offence mentioned at serial Nos. (i), (ii), (iii), (v), (vi), (vii), (viii)), (ix), (x), (xi) (xii), (xiii), (xv), (xvi), (xvii) and (xx) in the schedule to the Protection of Pakistan Act 2014 (X of 2014). However, according to an official press release, the law minister has sent a letter to the National Assembly secretary giving notice of an amendment to his draft bill to insert in the above-mentioned sub-clause (iv) to include any person who â€œraises arms or wages war against Pakistanâ€ among those to be punished. The bill explains that the expression â€œsectâ€ would mean a sect of religion and â€œdoes not include any political party registered under any law for the time being in forceâ€. Draft of amendment bill Whereas extraordinary situation and circumstances exist which demand special measure for speedy trial of certain offences relating to terrorism, waging of war or insurrection against Pakistan and for prevention of acts threatening the security of Pakistan by the terror-in groups formed in the name of religion or a sect and also by the members of any private armies, armed groups, wings and militia; And whereas there exists grave and unprecedented threat to the integrity of Pakistan by the raising of arms and insurgency in name of religion and sects, and foreign and locally funded anti-state elements including warriors in the name of the religion or sect; And whereas it is expedient that the said terrorists groups including any such terrorists fighting in the name of religion or sect captured or to be captured in combat with the Armed Forces or otherwise are tried by the courts established under the Acts mentioned hereinafter in section 2; And whereas the people of Pakistan have expressed their firm resolve through their chosen representatives in the all parties conference held in aftermath of the sad and terrible terrorist attack on the Army Public School at Peshawar on 16 December 2014 to permanently wipe out and eradicate terrorists from Pakistan it is expedient to provide constitutional protection to the necessary measures taken hereunder in the interest of security and integrity of Pakistan; It is now enacted as under: Short title and commencement. â€” (1) This Act may be called the Constitution (Twenty First Amendment) Act, 2014. (2) It shall come into force at once. (3) It shall extend to the whole of Pakistan. (4) The provisions of this Act shall remain in force for a period of two (2) years from the date of its enactment and shall cease to form part of the Constitution and shall stand repealed on the expiration of the said period. Amendment of Article 175 of the Constitution. After Article 175(3) the following proviso shall be added namely: â€œProvided that the provisions of this Article shall have no application to the trial of persons under any of the Acts mentioned at serial No.6, 7 & 8 of section 3 of this Act who claims or is known to belong to any terrorist group or organisation formed in the name of religion or sect. Amendment in the First Schedule of the Constitution.- ln the First Schedule, In Part I (III), after entry 5, the following new entries shall be made: The Pakistan Army Act 1952. The Pakistan Air Force Act 1953. The Pakistan Navy Ordinance 1961. The Protection of Pakistan Act, 2014. Overriding effect.- The provisions of this Act shall have effect, notwithstanding, anything contained In the Constitution, any law for the time being in force or any Judgment of a court including the Supreme Court. Editorial: A sad day Consider that where previous constitutional amendments during civilian dispensations were designed to clear the mess left behind by military dictators, this time it is the civilians who will be muddying the document to empower the army further. The 21st constitutional amendment will stand as a monument to the betrayal of the civilian, democratic cause. ======== Will they handover Mumbai terrorist perpetrators to India.??