Islamabad: Pakistan President Asif Ali
Zardari on Monday signed a landmark law that strips him off the
sweeping Presidential powers, in a move that will strengthen
the post of the Prime Minister and parliamentary democracy.
Zardari signed the historic 18th constitutional
amendment bill, which was passed by both houses of Parliament
by a two-thirds majority last week, at a ceremony attended by
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and PML-N chief Nawaz
"This is an historic day," Law Minister Babar Awan
said at the Presidential Palace.
"For the first time in the history of this country, a
democratically elected president has voluntarily given up his
power back to the parliament of this country," he said.
The amendments will take away the President`s powers
to appoint the three service chiefs, dissolve the parliament
and dismiss an elected premier.
They also repeal changes made to the constitution by
former military rulers Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf to
strengthen their grip on power.
Changes made to the constitution by Zia-ul-Haq and
Musharraf conferred vast powers on the President, including
the power to appoint the service chiefs and the heads of the
Election Commission and Public Service Commission.
The President also had the power to dismiss all or any
of the central or provincial governments and the parliament
The bill that was signed by the President today seeks
to strengthen parliamentary democracy in a country that has
seen several military strongmen topple democratically-elected
The bill also seeks to restore the constitution that
has seen several rounds of interference by dictators over a
span of four decads who sought to strengthen their hold on