Home Latest News Bypassing President Alvi, Speaker Ashraf Summons NA Session on Feb. 29

Bypassing President Alvi, Speaker Ashraf Summons NA Session on Feb. 29

First session of the 16th National Assembly to elect speaker, deputy speaker before proceeding to elect the next prime minister

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy National Assembly of Pakistan

National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Monday summoned the maiden sitting of the National Assembly at 10 a.m. on Feb. 29 (Thursday), after President Arif Alvi refused to perform his duty, claiming the House was still “incomplete” until the matter of reserved seats for the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) was decided.

Last week, the Parliamentary Affairs Division had forwarded a summary directing the president to summon a session of the National Assembly, as the Constitution requires the first session to be held no later than 21 days after the general elections. However, in his response, Alvi said the Lower House was still incomplete and he could not summon the session as requested. Both the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have accused Alvi of acting like the PTI’s president rather than head of the state.

Legal experts had already pointed out that the president could not delay the maiden session of the National Assembly. Section 91(2) of the Constitution says the National Assembly “shall meet on the twenty-first day following the day on which a general election to the assembly is held, unless sooner summoned by the president.” They had further said an “incomplete” NA was not a valid basis to halt its proceedings, as there are multiple seats that have been vacated, while there is one on which elections were not conducted after a candidate was killed during the campaign.

In a statement, the NA Secretariat said the president and speaker’s notification was not required to summon the session on the 21st day after polling.

While the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has already allocated reserved seats to all other political leaders, it has yet to determine whether the SIC—which primarily comprises candidates affiliated with the PTI—would be allocated the same. The issue at hand is the SIC’s failure to submit a list for reserved seats. The party also failed to secure any seats to the Lower House, with its sole candidate only entering the assembly after winning the polls as an independent.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment