ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Monday put off the joint sitting of parliament scheduled to be held on July 20 (Wednesday) for unknown reasons.
The joint sitting will now be held on August 22, according to an official announcement by the National Assembly Secretariat. “In exercise of powers conferred by proviso to Rule 4 of the Parliament (Joint Sittings) Rules 1973, the speaker has been pleased to call a joint sitting on August 22, 2022, at 4pm, instead of Wednesday, July 20, 2022,” according to the circular.
Rule 4 of the Parliament (Joint Sittings) Rules 1973, states: “The speaker shall determine when a joint sitting shall be adjourned sine die or to a particular day, or to an hour of the same day: provided that the speaker may, if he thinks fit, call a joint sitting before the date or time to which it has been adjourned or at any time after the joint sitting has been adjourned sine die.”
The last joint sitting of parliament was held on June 9 in which the government had managed to get passed the “controversial” electoral reforms and the accountability laws after President Dr Arif Alvi refused to give his assent to both laws despite their passage from the National Assembly and the Senate.
The amendments to the Elections Act 2017 sought to bar the use of electronic voting machines in the next general elections and those to the National Accountability Bureau (Amendment) Act were aimed at preventing the misuse of law for political engineering and victimisation of political opponents.
The bills had been forwarded to the president for his assent after their passage from the upper and lower houses, but President Alvi sent them back to parliament for reconsideration.
The bills were presented to the president again but he refused to sign them. Subsequently, the bills became an act of parliament after 10 days as per Article 75 of the Constitution.
After accomplishing the task, instead of proroguing the joint sitting, the speaker announced adjournment till July 20 as the government had intended to get some more bills passed in the joint sitting which had lapsed after their passage from one house of parliament.
Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2022