ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s national assembly today voted unanimously to approve reforms stripping President Asif Ali Zardari of key powers in a move to bolster parliamentary democracy weakened by military rule.

The 18th amendment was approved by 292 votes in favour and no votes against, among those present in the 342-member national assembly, announced lower house speaker Fahmida Mirza.

The bill now needs approval of the senate, or upper house, to become law.

Members of parliament celebrated their approval of the 102-clause bill with a prolonged thumping of the desks in front of their seats in the chamber.

“It is a matter of celebration for all the democratic parties. Feelings of joy are visible in the house,” said Mirza. “This is a historic day for all of us,” she said.

Lawmakers chanted slogans against former military rulers when the house endorsed the clauses declaring Pervez Musharraf’s October 12, 1999 coup as illegal and erased Zia ul Haq’s name from the constitution.