Home Latest News PMLN, PPP Warn of ‘Legal Consequences’ for President Alvi

PMLN, PPP Warn of ‘Legal Consequences’ for President Alvi

Political leaders claim president’s refusal to summon National Assembly session is in violation of the Constitution

by Staff Report

File photo, courtesy PID

Leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)—who are set to form the next coalition government at the center—on Tuesday warned that President Arif Alvi risks “legal consequences” for refusing to summon the National Assembly session within its constitutionally mandated timeframe.

Earlier this week, the president rejected a summary of the Parliamentary Affairs Division to summon a session of the National Assembly, saying it could not be done while the Lower House remained incomplete as the matter of reserved seats for the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) is still pending before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

Alvi’s refusal has attracted criticism of the PPP and PMLN, as well as a rejection of his position by the Prime Minister’s Office, which has noted that the Constitution clearly states the first NA session after elections should take place within 21 days of polling day. Following the president’s refusal, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf summoned the session at 10 a.m. on Feb. 29—exactly 21 days after the Feb. 8 elections.

Addressing media outside the Supreme Court, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Alvi faced several cases for “abrogating the Constitution.” One of these cases, he said, dealt with the president’s dissolution of the National Assembly after a no-confidence motion was moved against then-prime minister Imran Khan. Another, he said, pertained to abrogating the Constitution by not convening the National Assembly session.

To a question, however, he stressed his party had no plan to impeach the president.

To another question on why the SIC should not form the government as it has a numerical majority, Bhutto-Zardari noted that the party still lacked sufficient numbers to form government without a coalition. “They [SIC] did not approach PPP for votes to begin with, so they cannot raise objections over someone else forming the government, as they made no efforts to do so themselves,” he said, recalling the PTI had announced it did not wish to engage with either the PPP or PMLN.

“We were then left with the option to engage with the party [PMLN] that approached us,” he said, reiterating the PPP would not be part of government and would provide its input through Parliament.

“Shehbaz Sharif is now on his way to unanimously being elected as the P.M.,” he added.

Separately, PMLN leader Ishaq Dar alleged to media Alvi had abrogated the Constitution by not summoning the NA session and could face legal cases. He said the interim federal government had apprised the president of law and Alvi should convene the NA session.

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