Home Latest News In U-Turn, Alvi Summons ‘Incomplete’ National Assembly

In U-Turn, Alvi Summons ‘Incomplete’ National Assembly

In statement, president says he expects resolution of issue of reserved seats before the inaugural session of the Lower House

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy President’s Office

President Arif Alvi, late on Wednesday night, reversed his stance on refusing to summon an “incomplete” National Assembly, approving a summary for the inaugural session of the Lower House on the 21st day after the 2024 general elections.

Earlier this week, Alvi had refused to summon the National Assembly until the issue of reserved seats for the Sunni Ittehad Council was resolved, prompting the NA Secretariat to summoned the session at 10 a.m. on Thursday in light of Article 91 of the Constitution. Confirming the approval of the summary by the president, a statement said the decision was “subject to some reservations” and expected the matter of the reserved seats to be resolved before Feb. 29.

“While responding to the summary sent by the caretaker prime minister, the president said that the tone and tenor of the honorable caretaker Prime Minister of Pakistan was unfortunate,” it said, adding he took “exception” to its contents as head of the state. “Summaries are not usually addressed in this way. It is sad that chief executive of the country addresses the head of the state in the first form and resorts to unacceptable language and allegations without any substance,” wrote Alvi, maintaining he believed and “always maintained” the principle of objectivity and neutrality in accordance with his oath and responsibilities under the Constitution.

Claiming he could not ignore “some incongruities” in the electoral process and the process of formation of the government, he said he had to keep the national interest in his view, for cohesiveness and betterment of the nation. Maintaining returning the summary was in accordance with the provisions of Article 48(1), he added: “It is not understood on what grounds it has been taken as a partisan act, though it was also aimed at the completion of the National Assembly in accordance with Article 51 of the Constitution, so that people of Pakistan are not deprived of taking part in the executive decisions of the country through their representatives as enshrined in the Objectives Resolution.”

Saying he did not wish to dwell on “baseless accusations” of constitutional violation, he also reminded the caretaker prime minister his primary responsibility was to ensure conducive conditions for the peaceful, fair and transparent holding of general elections. “There are many cases being challenged and it is the responsibility of the state that the will and mandate of the people is respected by all,” he added.

Alleging the Constitution was not being implemented in letter and spirit in the existing electoral process, Alvi wrote that keeping in view the mandate and implications of timeline given in Article 91(2) and subject to his reservations and expecting the resolution of issue of reserved seats before 21st day, National Assembly meeting was summoned to convene on Feb. 29.

The matter of the reserved seats for the SIC—which now largely comprises PTI-backed independents—is still pending before the ECP, which reserved its judgement on Wednesday after hearing all stakeholders. The SIC’s opponents maintain it has no standing as a parliamentary party, as not even a single of its candidates won any seats to the National Assembly and its entire numbers are made up of independent candidates. However, the party says after the entry of independents, it is entitled to the reserved seats of women and minorities in accordance with its numbers in Parliament.

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