NA session called on 29th after president rejects summary

ISLAMABAD  -  As President Dr Arif Alvi yesterday sent back the summary of summon­ing the maiden session of National Assembly without his signatures, the NA Secretariat con­vened the lower house of parliament’s session on February 29 at 10am.

“The NA session is bound to take place on the 21st day of the general elections under Article 91 of the Consti­tution,” said a statement issued by the NA Secre­tariate explaining the requirement of sum­moning the NA session. 

The president could have summoned the session on the 21st day but he did not, the sec­retariat officials said.

The NA secretariat said the president and speaker’s notification is not required to sum­mon the session on the 21st day of the polling.

Earlier in the day, according to reports, outgoing Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf has “de­cided” to convene the inaugural session of the new lower house of par­liament on February 29 amid a looming con­stitutional crisis. The development came mo­ments after President Arif Alvi reportedly re­jected a summary to summon the NA session, sources said, in which MNAs-elect will take oath. Alvi believed that the NA was incom­plete sans the allocation of all the reserved seats to the political parties. 

While the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has allocated reserved seats to politi­cal parties, it has not awarded reserved quo­ta to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed inde­pendent candidates joined their ranks.

The ECP, however, said that the matter of SIC reserved seats is “pending before the commission”. The PML-N-led alliance, who claimed to have won majority in the Febru­ary 8 general elections, was of the view that the NA session must be called within 21 days after the elections, what their leadership said as per the Constitution.

Sources said that the decision was made during an emergency meeting headed by NA speaker and attended by the officials of the NA Secretariat and constitutional experts.

There was no constitutional hurdle in sum­moning the NA session despite the presi­dent’s denial, constitutional experts briefed the speaker. The president was bound by the law to convene the NA session within 21 days after the elections, they added. The in­augural session had to be held after 21 days, the Constitution deadline, under any circum­stances, the legal experts added. The NA Sec­retariat also consulted with the ministries of Law and Parliamentary Affairs.

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