President to address Parliament’s joint session today

October 06, 2022

Aiwan-e-Sadr has assured the government that the presidential address will be a smooth affair as President Arif Alvi won't deviate from the approach determined by the government for the address

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President of Pakistan Dr Arif Alvi. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi will address the joint session of two houses of Parliament today (Thursday) evening, marking the last parliamentary year of the National Assembly.

It will be the shortest parliamentary year since it would consist of 310 days, if the NA isn’t dissolved earlier. The Aiwan-e-Sadr, which is occupied by the PTI zealot, has assured the government that the presidential address would be a smooth affair as President Arif Alvi wouldn’t deviate from the approach determined by the government for the address. The text of speech has been drawn up by the ministry concerned and the same was being handed over to the president.

Well-placed sources told The News that Aiwan-e-Sadr has also prepared its own draft for the address of the president. The president is supposed to throw light on the performance of the government in the past year, while identifying the goals of the government for the following year in his speech.

With today’s session in the last year of the 15th NA, it would be the fifth and the last presidential address to the Parliament under clause (3) of Article 56 of the Constitution. The first presidential address to the incumbent assembly was made on September 17, 2018, second on September 12, 2019, third on August 20, 2020 and fourth on September 13, 2021. It is pertinent to mention that the fourth parliamentary year was concluded seven weeks ago on August 13, 2022 and this joint session will be the first of the last year of National Assembly.

According to the NA sources, a total of 156 bills, including private members bills, have been passed so far by the incumbent lower house. Of these bills, 10 were passed during the first parliamentary year, 30 during the second parliamentary year, 60 during the third parliamentary year, 54 during the fourth parliamentary year and remaining two during the fifth parliamentary year, which formally started on August 14, 2022.

A total of 122 bills have become Acts after the approval of the president during this tenure. The NA has checkered record of legislation since the chair most of the time defying the rules opted to go for adoption of certain drafts of legislation. The government relied heavily on ordinances for legislation and a total of 75 ordinances were presented in the House during the last four parliamentary years.

The bills passed by the House were mainly related to protection and raising alert about missing or abducted children and protection of women’s rights of ownership in property, right of review and reconsideration to the judgment of International Court of Justice, formulating a post-retirement procedure for NAB chairman and ensuring freedom of media and safety to media professionals.

For the first time in the parliamentary history, former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf was elected as speaker of this house. The 15th Assembly has been unique in terms of the elections to the offices of speaker and deputy speaker. The Assembly had to choose the speaker and deputy speaker twice during the last four parliamentary years.

The re-election to these both offices was necessitated after the resignation of former speaker Asad Qaisar and deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri, while Imran Khan was voted out as prime minister by the National Assembly as all three belonged to the PTI.

Shehbaz Sharif was elected as the new Leader of the House (Prime Minister). The lawmakers were also keen on moving the private members’ bill as 279 private members’ bills were introduced in the lower house. In addition, the House adopted 108 resolutions, making recommendations to the government on issues concerning foreign affairs, economy, internal security, water, criminal justice system and others.

During the four years, a total of 359 reports of committees were presented in the House. The president of Turkiye also addressed the joint session of parliament, while President Alvi also addressed on four occasions before the advent of parliamentary year. It would be the fifth and the last address of the president to the 15th National Assembly, which has been mandated till August 13, 2023.

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