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President Alvi to address joint session of parliament today

President Dr Arif Alvi will address the joint sitting of parliament. Source: APP

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi will address the joint sitting on Monday (today) at the advent of fourth parliamentary year.

The joint session of the parliament will be held at Parliament House in Islamabad at 4:00 p.m today. Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser will preside over the session which will be held under strict coronavirus-induced standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The mandatory presidential address has been due since the start of the fourth parliamentary year under Article 56(3) of the Constitution. However, Opposition parties have threatened to boycott the session and stage protests in and outside the parliament house.

The pandemonium is expected in the National Assembly as opposition parties have finalised their strategy to disrupt the proceedings during President Alvi’s address before staging a walkout and holding a demonstration outside the parliament house.

The third parliamentary year of the PTI government was completed on August 13 with the new precedent that the National Assembly gave a ‘vote of thanks’ to the president for his last year’s address to the joint sitting of the parliament without debate.

The opposition accuses the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government and the NA Speaker Asad Qaiser of violating the Constitution by not allowing a debate on the presidential address throughout the third parliamentary year.

Under a constitutional obligation, the president addresses a joint sitting of the parliament in the beginning of the parliamentary year after which a debate is conducted in the National Assembly to be closed by a minister followed by a vote of thanks to the president.

The opposition has also planned to take part in a demonstration being staged by journalists outside the parliament building against what they said “curbs on media by the government”.

Earlier on Friday, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) announced that it would boycott the joint sitting of parliament and join a protest by media workers outside the Parliament House.

The PDM executive committee had decided to boycott the joint sitting of the parliament and that the opposition parties would go to the Parliament on the day and hold a protest before boycotting the session.