Saturday March 02, 2024

Joint sitting of Parliament on 10th

By Our Correspondent
April 07, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The joint sitting of two houses of Parliament will be held on Monday (April 10) where the question of Supreme Court’s three-member bench verdict would come up for scrutiny while the fate of Supreme Court Practices and Procedure Bill, 2023 will also be discussed.

The bill was adopted by the National Assembly on March 29 and consigned to president for his assent but it has not been returned. The joint sitting could accord its approval since the bill should be returned to the National Assembly by the president a day before that. The bill would be passed in case the president returned it without his assent. In the meanwhile, the government has made up its mind that the National Assembly would continue to be in session till the judicial dispute is settled. The sources said that the question of compliance of three-member bench of the apex court could also come up for debate in the National Assembly. The bench ordered the government to release 20 billion rupees by April 10 for the elections and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was asked to submit a report on available funds on April 11.

Although, the government and now the National Assembly has discarded the judgment of the three-member bench yet as a measure of caution to provide protection to the ministry concerned, the House could express its inability to meet the demand, the sources said.

The sources indicated that the Finance Ministry, security agencies, Ministry of Defence and provincial judiciary’s contention pertaining to their inability to extend support to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for holding polls early is unchanged. They weren’t heard properly by the three-member bench but their position, which they had followed in their interaction with the commission that forced it to postpone the polls, is unaffected. Yet in another interesting development, the MQM-Pakistan, which is a coalition partner of the incumbent government, has distanced itself from the stubborn position on the judiciary and avoided becoming a part of the resolution against the judiciary. A delegation of the MQM-P had a meeting with Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the Prime Minister’s Parliament House chamber on Thursday and advised the coalition government to avoid a clash with the judiciary. The matters pertaining to the ongoing population census and overall political situation in the country were also discussed during the meeting. The delegation comprised Federal Information Technology and Telecommunications Minister Syed Aminul Haq and former member of National Assembly Farooq Sattar. Federal Economic Affairs Minister Sardar Ayaz Sadiq also attended the meeting.

The MQM-P opposition to the confrontation with the judiciary isn’t alarming but shows cracks in the ruling alliance. Former prime minister and a stalwart of the PMLN Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has also expressed divergent views on the issue. The MQM-P hasn’t taken a harsh line but caused disquiet in the ruling alliance. “We should not take any step that creates a clash with the apex court,” MQM-P ministers were quoted as saying during the meeting. They asked for a moderate path to be followed.