ISLAMABAD: On the advice of the government, President Dr Arif Alvi on Thursday convened a joint session of parliament on Monday (Sept 17) and regular sessions of the National Assembly and the Senate on Tuesday (Sept 18).
The joint sitting has been convened for the presidential address which is mandatory at the commencement of a parliamentary year. It would be the first address by Dr Alvi, who was recently elected as president.
On Wednesday, an announcement was made that the joint sitting would be held on Thursday (Sept 13) and regular sessions of the National Assembly and the Senate would be held next day.
But the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz protested the government’s move to convene the sittings at a time when the party was in a state of mourning and had announced suspension of its political activities for three days due to the demise of Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, wife of the party’s supreme leader Nawaz Sharif. Similarly, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman urged the government to postpone the joint sitting of parliament.
Apparently to avoid possible criticism of the move, the government has now decided to change the date of the joint sitting and sessions of the two houses.
It is expected that during the regular session of the National Assembly on Tuesday, Finance Minister Asad Umar will present the mini-budget for the remaining 10 months of the current fiscal year.
Opposition parties may not allow smooth sailing of the sessions because their demand for constituting a parliamentary commission to probe allegations of rigging in the general elections has not been met so far.
Speaking at a news conference in Lahore last week, PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif had asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to keep his word and constitute the parliamentary commission to probe allegations of rigging in the July 25 elections and recommend steps to block rigging attempts in future.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2018