Senate Chairman Mohammad Sadiq Sanjrani has summoned a session of the Senate on July 23, a notification issued by the Secretariat on Saturday said.
The session shall convene in the Parliament House in Islamabad at 3pm.
Meanwhile, the Senate chairman, prior to announcing the summoning of a session today, wrote a letter to the opposition yesterday in order to respond to their contentions surrounding the requisitioned session and a no-confidence motion seeking his removal.
Opposition parties on Friday had rejected Sanjrani’s claim (in an earlier letter penned by him) that a no-confidence motion could not be taken up in a requisitioned session of the house and had warned that any uncalled-for delay in convening of a session would be a clear violation of the Constitution.
It was in response to these concerns that Sanjrani wrote a letter yesterday. In it, he clarified that the removal of the Chairman or Deputy Chairman of the Senate is to be done through a resolution and not a no-confidence motion.
"Please stand corrected that in terms of clause (7) of Article 53 read with Article 61 of the Constitution, the Chairman or the Deputy Chairman Senate is to be removed from office by a Resolution and there is no such jargon or concept of 'motion of no confidence'," read the letter.
"I am ready to face the resolution," he went on to declare.
The Senate chairman regretted the "dismal position" in the opposition's letter whereby it had badly misinterpreted his intent "to protect the sanctity of the Ruling of the Chair" as "sitting in [his] own cause".
In his letter Sanjrani argued that there are many conditions followed by the Senate as having their origins from the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012. Such procedures are not provided in the Constitution, but stand valid.
An example given by him in this regard, is the matter of the seat of a Senate member becoming vacant.
Whereas clause (1) of Article 64 of the Constitution states that the member may in writing submit his resignation to the Chairman and thereupon his seat shall become vacant, it appears as if it will automatically become so without verification as provided in rule 18 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012.
According to Rule 18, the resignation "shall only become effective after verification by the Chairman" — a condition which is not provided in the Constitution.
Furthermore, Sanjrani contended that the Ruling of the Chair, dated October 2015 and subsequently November 2015, provided that "en mass resignations will be presumed prima facie in furtherance of a political purpose and not for the primary purpose of relinquishing office of member Senate". This bar was also not provided in the Constitution but was considered valid as having originated from the Ruling of the Chair and was later incorporated in the Standing Orders of the Senate.
Similarly, timelines for the process of verification of resignations — one week in an individual case, and forty consecutive sittings of Senate in en mass cases — are not found in the Constitution and yet remain operational.
"Will you term [these instances] contrary to the Constitution?" asked Sanjrani in the letter.
Resting his case, the Senate chairman wrote: "Without prejudice to the above mentioned, rest assured that I am fighting for the cause of upholding the majesty and supremacy of the Parliament and specially the prestige of the Chair of the custodian of the House and binding force of his Rulings, irrespective of personalities and individuals."
He said he had already, upon receiving the opposition's letter, issued a reminder to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to expedite the process for the summoning of a session.
"I am ready to face the resolution, which I will Insha Allah, but we should ensure that our conduct during this entire process does not weaken the sanctity and force of the Ruling of the Chair."
"Before concluding I would once again reiterate that I am standing not for my own cause but for the prestige of the Senate of Pakistan [...] Individuals come and go but institutions, traditions and Parliamentary prodecures/practices are here to stay, let's not tarnish the majesty of the Parliament [...] which I am determined to protect irrespective of the consequences," he said, at the end.