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March 17, 2013

NA stands dissolved, cabinet ceases to be

Business

March 17, 2013

ISLAMABAD: As the National Assembly ceased to exist after the completion of its constitutional five-year term, the cabinet also stood dissolved on Saturday midnight. However, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will continue in his office till the appointment of the new caretaker prime minister.
The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs on Saturday night issued a notification which reads: “In pursuance of Article 52 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the National Assembly stands dissolved on expiration its term of five years on the 16th day of March, 2013.”
Following the dissolution of the National Assembly, Article 224A has been invoked as outgoing Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Prime Minister Ashraf would have three days to agree on a name failing which the matter would go to a parliamentary committee comprising four members each from the opposition and the government. The committee will also have three days to take a decision.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would have the final say if the parliamentary committee also cannot reach a decision. The ECP would finalise the name of the caretaker PM within two days.
Sources said the National Assembly Secretariat, on the direction of Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, has formulated the draft rules for the parliamentary committee according to which the committee would make a decision on a caretaker PM on a simple majority and quorum of the committee would be 1/4th of the total membership.
In the first session, the committee would elect its chairman and approve the rules for terms of reference of the function of the parliamentary committee.
The Article 224A reads:
“(1): In case the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing National Assembly do not agree on any person to be appointed as the caretaker Prime Minister, within three days of the dissolution of the National Assembly, they shall forward two nominees each to a Committee to

be immediately constituted by the Speaker of the National Assembly, comprising eight members of the outgoing National Assembly, or the Senate, or both, having equal representation from the Treasury and the Opposition, to be nominated by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition respectively.
(2) In case a Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Provincial Assembly do not agree on any person to be appointed as the caretaker Chief Minister, within three days of the dissolution of that Assembly, they shall forward two nominees each to a Committee to be immediately constituted by the Speaker of the Provincial Assembly, comprising six members of the outgoing Provincial Assembly having equal representation from the Treasury and the Opposition, to be nominated by the Chief Minister and the Leader of the Opposition respectively.
(3) The Committee constituted under clause (1) or (2) shall finalise the name of the caretaker Prime Minister or caretaker Chief Minister, as the case may be, within three days of the referral of the matter to it: Provided that in case of inability of the Committee to decide the matter in the aforesaid period, the names of the nominees shall be referred to the Election Commission of Pakistan for final decision within two days.
(4) The incumbent Prime Minister and the incumbent Chief Minister shall continue to hold office till appointment of the caretaker Prime Minister and the caretaker Chief Minister, as the case may be.
(5) Notwithstanding anything contained in clauses (1) and (2), if the members of the Opposition are less than five in the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) and less than four in any Provincial Assembly, then all of them shall be members of the Committee mentioned in the aforesaid clauses and the Committee shall be deemed to be duly constituted.”