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ISLAMABAD: Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser on Sunday dismissed opposition’s demand to summon the NA session today (Monday), summoning the same on the coming Friday, to take up no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan, on the grounds that he had “no adequate option available whatsoever” for holding the NA session before March 24 on account of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) foreign ministers’ conclave.

In an order issued by the speaker that was later notified by Secretary NA Tahir Hussain, the former observed that a requisition was received on March 8 for summoning NA session under Article 54 (3) of the constitution.

On January 21, NA adopted a resolution to allow the “exclusive use of chamber of National Assembly” for 48th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers scheduled on March 22-23, the order stated.

After receipt of requisition on March 8, NA requested the Senate Secretariat to provide its chamber for holding NA session, the speaker stated in the order, adding that Senate Secretariat informed that the Senate chamber was not available as it was under renovation.

“Thereafter, the chairman CDA (Capital Development Authority) and deputy commissioner Islamabad were also approached to arrange and provide a suitable building for holding the session of the National Assembly, outside the Parliament building, in Islamabad. They have informed in writing that no suitable place is available at present in Islamabad for holding the session of the National Assembly—in view of the aforementioned facts and circumstances; it is evident that no suitable place would be available for holding the session of the National Assembly till March 24,” the speaker’s order read.

Opposition submits no-confidence motion against PM Imran

“Having no adequate option available whatsoever, for holding of the session of the National Assembly before March 24, 2022. Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Clause 3 of Article 54 of the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan read with Article 254 of the constitution, I, hereby, summon the NA to meet in the Parliament House Islamabad on the first available date, i.e., Friday, March 25, 2022 at 11.00 am,” the speaker observed in his order.

Article 54 (3) provides that on a requisition signed by not less than one-fourth of the total membership of the NA, the speaker shall summon the NA to meet, at such time and place as he thinks fit, within 14 days of the receipt of the requisition.

Opposition parties insist that keeping in view that requisition to summon the session was moved in NA on March 8, the session was required to be summoned before March 22 (14-day period).

However, an official said, Article 54 (3) did not make it obligatory on speaker NA to hold the NA meeting within 14 days. “This article simply mentions that NA session is required to be summoned within 14 days- which the speaker did—whether the session gets in progress within or after 14 days is entirely up to the speaker to decide,” the source maintained.

On Saturday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari threatened the government that joint opposition would stage a sit-in outside NA session if the session was not summoned on March 21 to take up no-confidence motion against the PM. “We’ll see how this event (OIC conference) takes place if NA session is not summoned on March 21,” he said.

Later, the joint opposition attempted to detach itself from Bilawal’s remarks and issued a statement wherein it assured that Pakistan’s “internal political situation and political turmoil would not be allowed to affect in any way the 48th meeting of the foreign ministers of the member states of OIC.” The opposition said it would “warmly welcome the foreign ministers, delegates and other dignitaries of the Islamic world to Pakistan on the occasion.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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