ISLAMABAD: While the opposition seems determined to move a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly within the next few days, the government on Friday decided to ‘partially’ close the Parliament House next week for four days.

According to the National Assembly Secretariat, the Parliament House is being closed for its ‘overdue’ renovation work that has not been done since 1994.

The secretariat announced that offices of speaker, deputy speaker, all additional secretaries, R&I branch and directorate general international relations will remain open in the Parliament House as normal routine.

However, the schedule of standing committees’ meetings has been shelved, as no such meeting will take place during renovation work from March 7 to 11. A fresh schedule of the committees’ meetings will be issued later.

The closure of Parliament House has been announced at a time when the opposition was going to requisition the National Assembly session for tabling a no-confidence motion against the premier.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardrai on Friday gave a five-day ultimatum to PM Khan to step down or else a no-confidence motion would be moved against him, while the Maulana Fazlur Rehman-led Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a cluster of some opposition parties, had also planned to move a no-confidence motion against the premier in the assembly.

Meanwhile, a source in the NA Secretariat told Dawn that the Parliament House was being closed for ‘overdue repair and renovation work’, being conducted in connection with upcoming the meeting of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The source said the NA Secretariat had very short time to complete the renovation work as the OIC session would commence from March 16.

Asked about the opposition’s no-trust move and its plan to requisite the National Assembly, the source said the opposition could file the same in the offices of NA Speaker or NA Secretary as the offices would remain open when renovation work would be in progress.

The Parliament House had not been renovated since 1994, the source said, claiming that visitors had started complaining about its dilapidated condition.

Talking to Dawn,the PPP’s Central Secretary Information and former deputy speaker of the NA Faisal Karim Kundi said if the NA hall was under renovation, the assembly session could be held in the Senate hall.

He said the PPP chairman had given the ultimatum to the prime minister to leave his office within five days, otherwise a no-confidence motion would be tabled against him.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2022

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