Pakistan: Despite president’s dissent, NA inaugural session convened on Thursday


ISLAMABAD: Despite objection by President Dr Arif Alvi, the National Assembly Secretariat on Wednesday convened the inaugural session of the lower house of Parliament at 10am on Thursday (tomorrow).

In a notification issued by NA Secretary Tahir Hussain, it was disclosed that Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar has approved the session under Article 91(2) of the Constitution.

The decision follows consultations with the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and the Ministry of Law.

On Monday President Dr Arif Alvi returned a caretaker government’s summary for convening the inaugural session of the National Assembly, prompting Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to call the maiden sitting of the lower house of parliament on February 29.

Alvi, whose presidency is coming to a conclusion within a few weeks, emphasised that he would only approve the summary if the issue of reserved seats for women and minorities was resolved and distributed among the parties, as per law.

His delay tactics drew criticism from political parties, including the PML-N and PPP, urging him not to misuse his powers as the head of state.

Observers speculate that the president aims to postpone the session until the Election Commission of Pakistan issues a notification regarding the reserved seats of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), a group that most PTI-backed lawmakers have recently joined.

On Tuesday, PM Kakar once again advised the president to convene the session, while granting authority to the NA secretariat to call the session after the constitutional deadline.

In the summary, Kakar emphasised that calling a sitting within 21 days of the elections was a constitutional obligation.

‘Alvi violating constitution’

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stalwart and Senator Ishaq Dar levelled serious allegations against President Alvi, accusing him of attempting to once again violate the constitution.

Speaking to the media in Islamabad, Dar, expressing concerns over the obstruction of the upcoming National Assembly meeting scheduled for February 29, urged fellow members not to sign any documents supporting the alleged unconstitutional actions.

He highlighted instances where members were unable to take their oaths during previous sessions, stressing the importance of upholding constitutional procedures.

Dar stressed that the failure by the president to sign the necessary documents for the assembly meeting indicated a deliberate attempt to disrupt proceedings, suggesting a disregard for constitutional principles.

As per the Constitution, the initial session of the National Assembly is mandated to be convened within 21 days after the general elections held on Feb 8. Section 91(2) of the Constitution stipulates: “The National Assembly shall meet on the twenty-first day following the day on which a general election to the assembly is held, unless sooner summoned by the president.”__Pakistan Today