ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has summoned sessions of Senate and National Assembly at the Parliament House on Wednesday January 1 at 3 and 4PM respectively to take up important national and international matters concerning Pakistan
The opposition had criticised calling the session of the two Houses of Parliament at a short notice. PPP leader Senator Sherry Rehman said that government is not serious about running the Parliament.
The PPP Parliamentary Leader in Senate said the government has abruptly called a senate session without giving a prior 48-hour notice which has caused inconvenience to senators during smog season when flights are unavailable. She questioned how those members flying in from Sindh and Balochistan will attend the sesssion after less than 24 hours notice was given for the session.
“No senate session has been called in 120 days despite repeated requests and letters to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, the Senate still has to meet for 56 days to complete the parliamentary year. When they finally decide to call one in, they badly mistime it. Is this some new way to break the opposition’s strength in the Senate? Their lack of seriousness is unbelievable,” she said.
Rehman said that Pakistan is facing multiple economic and foreign policy challenges but every issue of national or public importance is being decided through ordinances by the PTI-led government without consulting Parliament. This included amendments to the NAB Ordinance to avoid self-accountability, and this the PTI was not concerned about about following constitutionally laid out procedures, she added.
The opposition had requisitioned a senate session over concerns that it might not be able to complete a parliamentary year, and to discuss the legality of the ordinances passed by the federal government.
The requisition was signed by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafar-ul-Haq besides over 30 lawmakers of the opposition has been submitted with the Senate Secretariat under Article 54 (3) read with Article 61 of the Constitution,
Under the Constitution, the chairman Senate is bound to summon the session “on a requisition signed by not less than one-fourth of the total membership” of the house. The government has not summoned the regular session of Senate for the last four months which could create a constitutional crisis the government as the House has to meet at least 110 days during each parliamentary year.
The Senate Secretariat has written a letter to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs saying that the Senate has completed 56 days so far during the parliamentary year 2019-2020 and will have to meet for further 54 days to fulfill the constitutional requirement.
PPP member National Assembly Shazia Marri said that government wants to run the Parliament in a haphazard way like it is running the country. She said the members were informed at 5PM through media about the session of the Parliament to be held the very next day, adding that neither the members were taken into confidence nor was the notification of the meeting issued.
Marri said the members should have been informed about the meeting at least 48 hours earlier asking members might stuggle to attend the session in the adverse weather condition. She questioned whether the government want the members to attend the session.
Shazia Marri said that the government does not know the principles of running the parliament and has failed on every front. “If Imran Khan cannot run the government then he should go home because people and their representatives are suffering due to his inability to run the country, she said, adding that the parliament is not Imran Khan’s cabinet which he wants to run according to his wishes.