ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi will address a joint session of parliament on Aug 30 at the commencement of the new parliamentary year, the National Assembly Secretariat announced on Monday.

Article 56 (3) of the Constitution reads: “At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the National Assembly and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President shall address both Houses assembled together and inform the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament) of the causes of its summons.”

The president has also summoned the National Assembly session at 4pm on Sept 2, the NA Secretariat said in a statement.

The National Assembly completed its first parliamentary year on Aug 12. On July 29, when a planned session was prorogued by the president, more than 50 government and private members’ bills were lying pending before the house committees, which were constituted by Speaker Asad Qaiser after an inordinate delay due to a controversy over the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee.

The present assembly in its first parliamentary year was able to hold sittings for 150 days. It may be mentioned that under the law it is mandatory for the lower house of parliament to remain in session for at least 130 working days. The sittings include three joint sessions of the two houses of parliament.

The number of actual sittings, however, comes to only 88 as under the rules the two days sandwiched between two working days are also counted as the session days. The NA has so far met for 263 hours and 29 minutes, which also include a nearly 90-hour budget session.

Article 54 (2) of the Constitution reads: “There shall be at least three sessions of the National Assembly every year, and not more than one hundred and twenty days shall intervene between the last sitting of the Assembly in one session and the date appointed for its first sitting in the next session.”

Published in Dawn, August 20th, 2019