After an unprecedented hiatus of almost four months, the Senate would meet in its regular session today (Wednesday) as President Arif Alvi on Tuesday summoned the Upper House of the Parliament's meeting. The President has also summoned National Assembly's session today (Wednesday) at 4:00pm while the Senate is scheduled to meet at 3:00pm.
The Senate's last regular session was held on August 29 summoned by Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani. It concluded on September 3, and, since then the house's regular session has not been summoned. Although Sanjrani summoned 294th session of the Senate on November 5 which concluded on November 15, yet that was a requisition session (not a regular session) summoned on the requisition of the joint opposition.
Recently, the opposition lawmakers slammed the chairman Senate for not summoning the Senate session and accused him of colluding with the treasury benches "to render the Upper House of the Parliament virtually dysfunctional."
Apart from mainstream political parties including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) also strongly criticized Sanjrani for staying 'oblivious' to the affairs of the Senate.
A few days back, Leader of the Opposition in Senate Raja Zafar-ul-Haq slammed the role of the treasury benches and the chairman Senate for their 'apathy' in dealing with the legislative business.
"The role of the government is in front of all of us. It is not serious at all in parliamentary business. That is why it is relying on presidential ordinances instead of parliamentary legislation. We strongly oppose this practice and will continue to resist it," he told Business Recorder.
Haq said the chairman Senate's apathy in running the affairs of Senate is evident from the fact that he summoned the last (294th) session of the Senate on November 5, and that too, on a requisition moved by opposition, more than two months after the 293rd session was prorogued on September 3. "The chairman has the foremost responsibility on his shoulder, to play his proactive role in forging parliamentary unity between the treasury and opposition benches for effective parliamentary legislation. But he is nowhere to be seen."
Pointing to the fact that the chairman Senate summoned the last regular session (not requisition session) of the Senate on August 29, Haq said, "It is a crying shame that the most respected and coveted legislative house of Pakistan has been rendered dysfunctional due to the absolute disinterest of chairman Senate," he said
In another development, Secretary Senate Muhammad Anwar reached the age of superannuation on Tuesday. He remained associated with the Senate since March 1982 and served on different positions in the Upper House of the Parliament. "He has a vast experience in administrative, legislative and financial matters. He holds a master degree in political science and represented Pakistan on various national and international forums. He also moderated training and orientation sessions at national and international level focusing on capacity building of the parliamentarians, parliamentary functionaries and others," a press release from the Senate Secretariat said on Anwar's retirement.
A reception to bid farewell to the retiring secretary was also organised, attended by different senators, ministers and senior officials of the Senate. A regular replacement of the secretary Senate was not announced till the filing of this report.