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Friday May 24, 2024

Session hinges on fulfilment of required criteria: Senate

By Mumtaz Alvi
September 26, 2023

ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani awaits the fulfillment of the constitutional requirement to summon a session of the Upper House, as the requisition motion filed by the Pakistan People’s Party fell short of meeting the required criteria. The Senate remains in existence, while the National Assembly and four provincial legislatures also no longer exist.

According to a statement issued by the Senate Secretariat, the number of required members in the requisition presented by Senator Taj Haider for the Senate session is not complete. Therefore, the Senate session cannot be summoned due to the non-fulfillment of constitutional requirements.

It said: “The Chairman of the Senate is waiting for the constitutional requirements to be fulfilled for the meeting.” The statement explains that the constitutional conditions for the Senate session application are not met. And, as soon as the constitutional requirements are met, a meeting of the Upper House will be convened.

The PPP has tried in three weeks for the requisitioning of a Senate session to firstly discuss the Jaranwala tragedy and then the inflation and sky-rocketing prices of commodities and inflated electricity bills. But it has failed owing to the mismatch of signatures of some of its members of the House with the Roll of Members and the withdrawal of signatures by five senators belonging to other parties in the House.

On its own, the PPP is not in a position to qualify for filing a requisition application, as it comprises 22 members, including Senator Shamim Afridi, who joined the party in 2021. One-fourth of the 100-member house has to sign such a motion to legally qualify for requisitioning the session.

It is believed that the PMLN is not reportedly inclined to a session where it can face criticism for the prevailing financial situation of the country, along with the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf, which remained in power for over three and a half years. The PMLN led a coalition government, which also included the PPP.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology was convened here at the Ministry of Science and Technology, which was presided over by Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen.

The committee opposed making regular appointments during the tenure of a caretaker government. The forum got a briefing on the number of employees currently serving ‘in look-after charge and on a deputation basis’ in the Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA).

Additionally, the committee was presented with a list of employees who have not been repatriated despite court orders, along with details of those who have been regularised and those who have not, accompanied by explanations for the latter group’s status.

According to the Director-General of PSQCA, there are a total of 15 employees on look-after duty, with several more on deputation. A summary of the appointment of a regular Director-General for PSQCA was submitted to the Prime Minister’s office, which, in turn, directed the committee to seek approval from the caretaker minister of science and technology.

Simultaneously, a summary of the appointment of a director-general as an additional charge is also forwarded to the Prime Minister’s Office. The committee members emphasised that the caretaker government is not authorised to make regular appointments as its mandate is limited to day-to-day affairs. After careful deliberation, the committee resolved to maintain the current caretaker arrangement until an elected government is in power, at which point a regular director-general can be appointed for PSQCA.