Pakistan's National Assembly met for a special three-day session on Friday (April 14) and approved an interim constitution which cleared the way for the removal of martial law later this week.
GV EXT Assembly building
SCU PAN INT Mr. Bhutto leads delegates along corridor
SV Other delegates and members stand outside meeting hall (3 shots)
SCU PAN Bhutto along corridor
BV Members into hall
SCU PAN Bhutto into hall.
Initials ES. 1700 SH/MR/BB/1700
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Background: Pakistan's National Assembly met for a special three-day session on Friday (April 14) and approved an interim constitution which cleared the way for the removal of martial law later this week.
Under the interim constitution, the National Assembly becomes a sovereign body. The constitution -- which will remain in force until a permanent one is passed next year -- also provides for a parliamentary form of government headed by the President and a council of ministers. There will be no Prime Minister.
President Bhutto announced that martial law, in force since 1969, will end on Friday April 21 -- the date when the will be sworn in officially as Pakistan's Head of State at a ceremony in Rawalpindi.
The Assembly was meeting for the first time since the elections were held throughout both wings of Pakistan in December 1970. Opposition members in the 46-seat assembly abstained and there was only one vote against the resolution. It was cast by a member of President Bhutto's ruling Pakistani People Party (PPP).
SYNOPSIS: In Pakistan, the National Assembly meets for the first time since elections were held in both wings of the country two years ago.
The three-day session approved an interim constitution providing a parliamentary form of government. It'll be headed by President Bhutto and a council of ministers, but there'll be no prime minister under the constitution. President Bhutto will be sworn in officially at a ceremony in Rawalpindi on Friday (April 21).
Opposition members of the assembly abstained from the voting--and only one vote was cast against the resolution. President Bhutto said that if the assembly approved the resolution, martial law in Pakistan would end--four months earlier than expected.