A 31-gun salute was fired in Rawalpindi on Thursday (April 12) as President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan signed his country's new constitution at the Presidency.
A 31-gun salute was fired in Rawalpindi on Thursday (April 12) as President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan signed his country's new constitution at the Presidency. The constitution provides for the end of Presidential rule and the resumption of parliamentary government.
Members of the ruling and opposition parties, foreign diplomats, and high-ranking civil and military officials watched the signing. The document had been brought to the Presidency in a motorcade of members of the National Assembly.
Earlier, at the Assembly building in Islamabad, 136 of the 146 Assembly members had initialled the Historic document. On Tuesday (10 April), the opposition party abandoned its two-week boycott of Assembly proceedings and voted with the Government to pass the constitution by 125 votes to none against, with two abstentions.
Controversy over the new constitution has caused weeks of tension in Pakistan. Opposition support for the constitution came after changes were made, affecting seven of its 280 articles.
It is due to come into force on 14 August, Pakistan's Independence Day. Many observers now expect President Bhutto to devote his full energies to securing the release of 90,000 Pakistani prisoners detained in India since the Bangladesh war 16 months ago.
SYNOPSIS: Thursday was an historic day at Pakistan's National Assembly building in Islamabad as Government and Opposition members signed the country's new constitution.
Each member was cheasd as he went forward to sign. The Constitution was passed in the National Assembly last week after the opposition parties decided to call off their boycott of the proceedings -- and to vote for the constitution.
President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto said the new constitution was democratic, federal and Islamic.
After the signing, Assembly members took the new constitution to the Presidency in Rawalpindi for President Bhutto to sign.
The route to the Presidency was lined with crowds carrying welcoming slogans and portraits of President Bhutto.
Foreign diplomats, and high-ranking civil and military officials joined National Assembly members to watch the constitution signed into law.
President Bhutto's signature ended months of bitter debate. Now observer expect President Bhutto to be free to devote his full energies to securing the release of Pakistani prisoners in India.