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ISLAMABAD: Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani and Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, Tuesday, decided that ‘appropriate’ time would be given to lawmakers to express their views during respective requisitioned sessions of the two Houses of the Parliament and to expedite progress on pending parliamentary legislation.

These decisions were taken at a meeting between the chairman and the speaker at the Parliament House.

Apparently, the decision to give the lawmakers appropriate time to express their views was taken keeping in view the recently prorogued NA session that ended abruptly after treasury and opposition members exchanged derogatory remarks and physically scuffled with one another as the opposition strongly protested against 26th constitutional amendment bill.

On Monday, the opposition senators moved a requisition in Senate Secretariat to summon Senate session to discuss “the unprecedented and controversial presidential ordinance promulgated with mala fides intent.”

Signed by 26 opposition senators, the minimum number constitutionally required to move a requisition (one-fourth of total Senate membership of—26 out of 104 members), the requisition carries one-point agenda; discussion on “unprecedented and controversial presidential ordinance promulgated with mala fides intent, that seeks to change the Senate election procedure, which is an election under the Constitution of Pakistan, rendering the process of Senate elections controversial.”

Till the filing of this report, the Senate session was not summoned.

Under the related constitutional provisions, a requisitioned session of the Senate/National Assembly can be convened by the chairman Senate/speaker National Assembly (instead of the President of Pakistan) if not less than one-fourth of the total members of the House concerned sign the requisition to convene the session.

Article 54 (3) reads, “Summoning and prorogation of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) - On a requisition signed by not less than one-fourth of the total membership of the National Assembly, the speaker shall summon the National Assembly to meet, at such time and place as he thinks fit, within fourteen days of the receipt of the requisition; and when the speaker has summoned the Assembly only he may prorogue it.”

Although, the said article mentions only National Assembly, it is equally applicable on Senate in the light of Article 61 of the Constitution. It reads “The provisions of clauses (2) to (7) of Article 53, clauses (2) and (3) of Article 54 and Article 55 shall apply to the Senate as they apply to the National Assembly and, in their application to the Senate, shall have effect as if references therein to the National Assembly, speaker and deputy speaker were references, respectively, to the Senate, chairman and deputy chairman.”

Under normal circumstances, the session of the Parliament is summoned by the president. Article 54 (1) reads, “Summoning and prorogation of Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) - (1) The president may, from time to time, summon either House or both Houses or Majlise-e-Shoora (Parliament) in joint sitting to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit and may also prorogue the same.”

On Saturday, President Dr Arif Alvi issued Elections (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, for introducing open ballot system in upcoming Senate elections.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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