First regular session of ‘dysfunctional’ NA from tomorrow – Pakistan

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• The speaker initiated the confirmation of the withdrawal of PTI MNAs
• Un-nominated opposition leader
• All NA bodies remain default

ISLAMABAD: The first regular session of the National Assembly after the coalition government under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took office last month will begin tomorrow (Monday), with Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf facing the challenge of keeping parliament afloat after resigning from the 123 Pakistan Tehreek. -Insaf (PTI) lawmakers.

According to the official announcement of the NA Secretariat, President Dr Arif Alvi convened a sitting of the lower house at 4pm on Monday under Article 54 (1) of the Constitution. The secretary will release the residency agenda on Sunday (today).

Sources mentioned It was morning that the speaker could begin the process of verifying the withdrawal of PTI MNAs by inviting them to his room individually or in groups during the current session. About a dozen MNAs of the former ruling party have been reported to have approached him seeking a meeting to clarify their status.

Sources at the NA Secretariat have confirmed that most of the resignations submitted by PTI MNAs were not handwritten and had the same text printed in the party letterhead. The secretarial staff also expressed doubts about the signing of other members as they did not agree with what was on the agenda.

The decision to withdraw from the meeting was taken at a meeting of the PTI parliamentary party, chaired by Imran Khan, and announced by deputy chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the floor of the assembly just minutes before the PM election on April 11.

Former deputy speaker Qasim Suri, who was acting acting speaker at the time, immediately agreed to resign and instructed the secretary to issue a notice.

On April 14, the PTI issued a notice to the 123 secretaries of the parties “resigned from their seats by writing under their hand” to the speaker. The notice, signed by NA Secretary Tahir Hussain, declared that after the resignation of their seats they have been vacant in terms of Section 64 (1) of the Constitution, with effect from 11 April.

Nomination of an opposition leader

Another challenge before Mr Ashraf is the appointment of an opposition leader in the House. Since the PTI leader was adamant that he would not return to the convention, he had no choice but to elect an opposition leader from nearly 20 PTI opponents. According to sources, Noor Alam Khan and Raja Riaz are the main competitors in the slot and both have already submitted official requests to the speaker and signatures of their colleagues.

Following the resignation of PTI members and the formation of a new cabinet by PM Sharif, parliament almost went bankrupt due to incomplete committees. According to the analysis of the composition of all the houses of parliament, all the committees of the National Assembly have not yet decided and they are more than 60 percent non-executive, either due to the resignation of PTI members or the inclusion of their chairpersons in the coalition cabinet.

Key committees, which have been headless, include the most powerful Public Accounts Committee and parliamentary committees in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Kashmir. Furthermore, the standing committees on finance and revenue of the two houses of parliament also have no head when the government has only one month to approve the 2022-23 fiscal budget for the 2022-23 financial year.

The committees of these two houses are known as parliamentary extension as all laws and important issues regarding housing land are referred to the relevant committees for thorough discussion with all stakeholders. Under the rules, committees must submit their reports to any House within 60 days after the members of both houses have voted on the bill.

Standing committees are established on the basis of party affiliation in any House, and as the PTI was the ruling party, it had the majority of representatives in all the committees of the National Assembly. Other NA committees remained without chairmanship following the resignation of PTI members for aviation, internal, climate change, defense, information and media, economic affairs, energy, foreign affairs, housing and employment, information and communication technology, planning and country and border areas.

On the 30th of April, the speaker wrote letters to parliamentary leaders of all parties, including PTI chairman Imran Khan, asking them to submit their names for the establishment of a parliamentary committee on electoral reform. Due to the current political climate, it is not possible for the PTI to submit any nominees.

Published Parhlo, May 8, 2022

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