President summons Senate session on June 5

Updated May 29 2020

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Overall it will be the 299th session of the upper house of the parliament. — APP/File
Overall it will be the 299th session of the upper house of the parliament. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has summoned the Senate session on June 5 which will coincide with the budget sitting of the National Assembly that has already been convened to meet the same day.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 54 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the president has been pleased to summon the Senate to meet in the Parliament (House) Building, Islamabad, on Friday, the 5th June 2020, at 10am,” says a notification issued by the Senate Secretariat here on Thursday.

Overall it will be the 299th session of the upper house of the parliament whereas it will be the first regular session of the current parliamentary year of Senate which started on March 12 as its previous two sittings on May 12 and 14 were held on the requisition of the opposition for discussion on the situation in the country in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

Though leaders from the government and the opposition before the start of the requisitioned session had stated that they would make every effort to evolve a national consensus in the strategy for the fight against Covid-19, the session failed to produce any positive outcome as lawmakers of the two sides consumed most of the time in making allegations and counter-allegations against each other.

The last regular session of Senate had concluded on March 2 when the members succeeded in fulfilling the constitutional requirement of keeping the house in session for at least 110 days in a parliamentary year after they met continuously for seven weeks.

The Senate session had continued almost for two months after an agreement between the government and the opposition to drag the session despite having no serious business in hand.

Besides discussion on the budget, senators are also expected to discuss a government proposal to hold Senate elections through the open vote.

The proposal was floated by Fede­r­­al Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood and Minister for Narcotics Control Azam Swati during a news conference on May 20 in which they had also announced a number of proposed changes to the Constitution and laws to reform the electoral process.

The proposals have already been placed before the federal cabinet for approval after which they would be presented before the parliament in the form of bills.

The two ministers were members of a special parliamentary committee constituted by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser in October 2018 on the opposition’s demand to probe charges of rigging in elections held in July that year.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2020