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Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: As far as National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza is concerned her ruling against sending a reference to the Election Commission on the issue of disqualification of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani cannot be questioned outside the house.

Talking to newsmen after inaugurating the campus of the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services here on Wednesday, she said: “If anybody has doubts about powers of the speaker, he should carefully read Rule 28 of the National Assembly to understand my position.”

Rule 28, which deals with the decision and ruling of the speaker National Assembly, says: “Whenever the speaker decides or gives his ruling on any matter on the floor of the house or in his office on the file, as the case may be, it shall not be called in question, and that shall be final except on a motion for rescinding it.”

But asked to comment on petitions filed in the Supreme Court by the PML-N and PTI against her ruling, Dr Mirza said she was yet to receive a court notice to this effect. “I will definitely respond to the court notice after consulting my legal advisers when I will receive it,” she said.

During her first direct interaction with the media after giving her ruling in favour of Prime Minister Gilani, she said an incumbent speaker had to contest election twice; first for the membership of the house and for the speakership when members of the National Assembly representing 180 million people reposed their confidence. Thus, a decision by the speaker should be respected both in public and political spheres, Dr Mirza said.

She refused to comment on the issue of dual nationality that had again put the National Assembly in spotlight, saying the matter was sub judice.

About her invitation to Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and MNA Abid Sher Ali of the PML-N against the background of the latter’s unparliamentary behaviour during the last session of the National Assembly, the speaker said she was still waiting for them.

She said the invitation wasn’t time-barred and expressed the hope that the opposition party behaved in the upcoming budget session.

During the last session, Mr Abid Sher Ali shouted more than his other party colleagues during their protest against PM Gilani and even threw torn papers at the speaker’s chair.

The ceremony to inaugurate new campus of the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services was also attended by Senate’s Deputy Chairman Sabir Ali Baloch, Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Mohammad Iqbal, Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuro, Balochistan Assembly Speaker Aslam Bhootani, Senators Dr Saeeda Iqbal and Hamayun Khan Mandokhel, MNAs Yasmeen Rehman, Aftab Shaban Mirani, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Iqbal Qadri, Pervaiz Khan and Zafar Beg Bhittani, the executive director of PIPS and secretaries of the Senate and National Assembly.

Talking to newsmen, Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Khuro defended the decision of a provincial privileges committee which declared Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali a proclaimed offender for repeatedly refusing to appear before it.

In her speech on the occasion, the NA speaker said the PIPS was a landmark achievement of the parliament and a premier training and research facility for national and provincial legislatures.

Dr Mirza said institutionalisation of the capacity building of parliamentarians and training facility for the legislative staff was imperative and it was turned into a functioning reality with the assistance of the United States.

She was confident that the establishment of the PIPS would be beneficial for strengthening democracy in Pakistan and building strong and robust democratic institutions.