Presidential address to parliament put off at last moment – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The government canceled on Thursday the joint session of parliament convened on Friday (today) for a constitutionally mandatory speech by President Arif Alvi, which caused a strong reaction from opposition parties that have been flexing their muscles to present a protest and interrupt the proceedings for the issue of the appointment of two members of the Electoral Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The leaders of two main opposition parties: the Muslim League of Pakistan-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Popular Party of Pakistan (PPP), said the government had canceled the joint session without taking them in confidence and for fear of strong reaction. of them on the "unconstitutional act" of ignoring parliament on the issue of the appointment of PCE members by President Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The government also canceled the regular session of the National Assembly scheduled for September 2.

"The president is pleased to revoke the Presidential Order of August 17, 2019 by calling both chambers to meet for a presidential speech on August 30, 2019 at the House of Parliament," says a notification issued by the Secretariat of the National Assembly on Thursday night. Another notification says that the president also revoked his order to convene the session of the National Assembly on September 2.

The opposition claims that the government has canceled the joint session for fear of a strong reaction to the "unconstitutional" appointment of PCE members

When he contacted him, the Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry, refuted the opposition's claim and said the session had been postponed to allow members of parliament to visit their respective constituencies on Friday to participate in the protest of Kashmir on the call of Prime Minister Khan. He said the opposition could hold the protest when the joint session is convened after Ashura (10 of Muharram) falls on September 9 or 10.

On the other hand, the secretary of information of PML-N, Marriyum Aurangzeb, alleged that the government had postponed the joint session because it wanted to create a constitutional crisis in the country. Speaking to SunriseMs. Aurangzeb said that the government had no courage to face the opposition on the issue of "illegal appointment" of the two members of the PCE and that is why she was escaping from parliament.

Responding to a question about the opposition's plan to disrupt parliament's procedures, he said they only wanted to seek a government response on the issue of the appointment of PCE members, adding that it was the right of the opposition to raise in parliament question of "serious violation of the Constitution" by the president and the prime minister. She said that even the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), retired judge Sardar Mohammad Raza, declared in his order that the appointment of two PCE members was "unconstitutional."

PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said in a statement that the government had postponed the session so that the opposition could not question the "illegal act" of the president and prime minister. He said that after "attacking" the judiciary, the rulers had attacked parliament, adding that the "selected prime minister" had not come to parliament to answer the opposition's questions.

Sources counted Sunrise that the opposition parties had made a plan to prevent the president from delivering his speech in parliament through a loud protest. However, they said, the opposition parties had decided to keep their plan a secret until the last moment.

The sources said that while discussing the issue of the appointment of PCE members, members of the opposition Rahbar Committee had discussed at their meeting on August 26 the option of presenting a resolution of political trial against the president.

A PPP official, who was present at the meeting, had declared that the president could be dismissed in accordance with article 47 of the Constitution for "violating the Constitution."

Article 47 of the Constitution states: "Notwithstanding the provisions of the Constitution, the President may, in accordance with the provisions of this Article, be removed from office for physical or mental disability or be accused of violating the Constitution or Inappropriate Conduct. . "

At a press conference after the meeting, Akram Durrani, the committee coordinator, said the "unconstitutional appointment" of PCE members provided a legal and constitutional justification to dismiss the president. He said that even the CEC had refused to administer the oath to newly appointed members of the PCE, calling his appointment illegal. "Has the president not violated the constitution?" He had asked.

President Alvi will address the joint session on Friday at the beginning of the new parliamentary year under Article 56 (3) of the Constitution, which says: "At the beginning of the first session after each general election to the National Assembly and in At the beginning of the first session of each year, the President will address both chambers and inform the Majlis-e-Shoora (parliament) of the causes of his convocation. "

The National Assembly completed its first parliamentary year on August 12. On July 29, when the president extended a planned session, more than 50 bills of government and private members were pending before the House committees, constituted by President Asad Qaiser. after an excessive delay due to a controversy over the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee.

Posted on Dawn, August 30, 2019



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