ISLAMABAD: Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri on Monday adjourned the National Assembly sitting till July 30 afternoon without taking up any agenda item.
Soon after recitation from the Holy Quran and a Naat and playing of the national anthem, the deputy speaker asked Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali to offer Fateha for the departed soul of former Sindh chief minister Mumtaz Bhutto and then announced the long adjournment even without approving the leave applications of members required under the rules.
In total, the assembly remained in session for nine minutes only as around 40 members were present in the 342-member house. A majority of the lawmakers had already left Islamabad for their constituencies to celebrate Eidul Azha in their native towns and cities.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf is currently struggling to fulfil an important constitutional requirement to keep the National Assembly in session for a minimum of 130 days in a calendar parliamentary year. The assembly has so far held 119 sittings meaning thereby that it is required to be in session for another 11 days before completion of the third parliamentary year on Aug 12. Despite having no important legislative agenda for the time being, the government had convened the current session on July 8, only a week after having nearly a month-long budget session. At present, the members have been having a debate on the address of President Dr Arif Alvi to the joint sitting of parliament on August 20 last year.
The debate on the presidential address is also a constitutional requirement and members generally do not give importance to it as they are allowed to speak on any issue of their choice during the debate on the address. The president is required to address the joint sitting of parliament at the start of every parliamentary year and his next address is due on August 13.
Majority of political experts criticise governments for not being able to hold regular sessions of the assembly throughout the year and then keep the house in session with no important agenda only to fulfil the requirement thus putting a burden on the national exchequer as millions of rupees are spent on a day’s sitting.
Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2021