ISLAMABAD: What turned out to be seemingly embarrassing situation for President of Pakistan Arif Alvi, majority of the lawmakers, both treasury and opposition, from the two houses of Parliament, gave a cold shoulder to him on Thursday, boycotting his much-delayed address to the joint session, including members of Alvi’s own political party; Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Some 15 to 18 lawmakers were present during Alvi’s address at the joint session— more than six times lesser than the minimum required number of 25 per cent or 110 members to meet the quorum of the Parliament that comprises of 442 seats (100 in Senate and 342 in National Assembly).
Right from the outset, the joint session was marked by visibly thin attendance of the lawmakers with hardly three dozen legislators present in the house.
Moments after Alvi started his address, more than half of the legislators, especially those from the ruling parties; Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), walked out of the house in protest to Alvi’s address.
Only a handful of lawmakers from Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) and other smaller political groups remain seated during Alvi’s speech.
PTI already announced its boycott of the Parliament’s joint session. In a recent meeting chaired by PTI chief and former PM Imran Khan, the political party decided not to attend the Parliament’s joint session. On Khan’s instruction, Leader of the Opposition in Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem recently barred the PTI senators from attending the joint session, it is learnt. A large majority of PTI MNAs has already tendered resignations from NA ever since Khan was ousted from the premiership in a no-confidence motion in April this year.
“This president has broken the law and constitution. He should be tried under Article 6 (high treason),” Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told the media outside NA hall at the Parliament House.
“The person who dissolved the NA should feel ashamed of his actions instead of coming here and delivering speeches. He returns important summaries of the government raising frivolous objections and refuses to administer oath (to government lawmakers),” deplored Defence Minister Khawaja Asif.
“He is same as his leader (Imran Khan),” he added.
“This is the president who violated the law and constitution. We have decided not to listen to anything what he says in the Parliament today. We are going to boycott today’s proceedings,” Member National Assembly (MNA) from PML-N and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi stated.
The situation remained tense for Alvi inside the house too—where the protesting lawmakers including Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan from Jamaat-e-Islami(JI), Mohsin Dawar (independent) and Akbar Chitrali from Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) sat down on the floor of the house in front of the desk of Speaker NA Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in protest to the continued detention of Ali Wazir MNA. The speaker NA, along with Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, jointly presided over the joint session of the Parliament.
Holding placards, the protesting lawmakers chanted slogans against non-issuance of Wazir’s production orders by the speaker NA.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022