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May 23, 2018

KP Assembly heading towards unceremonious end


May 23, 2018

PESHAWAR: Unlike the National Assembly and other provincial assemblies, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly is heading towards an unceremonious end on May 28, leaving many bills, resolutions and adjournment motions on the shelves of the assembly secretariat.

At a time when almost all the assemblies in the country are holding their last sessions, the KP Assembly hasn’t met. Its farewell session was convened on May 22, but it was cancelled yet again.

The cancellation of the session meant the House is heading to an unceremonious end as it is not going to witness the farewell speeches, formal gathering and handshakes among fellow lawmakers.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led provincial government set another example of failure as it couldn’t pass the interim budget and retain confidence of the majority of members in the last days of its five-year tenure.

The government tactfully dodged the opposition by convening the assembly session on May 4 and then postponing and summoning it on May 14 and then May 22. It again withdrew the summery to cancel the session at the eleventh hour. This left no space for the opposition to requisition the session.

Except during martial laws, it will be perhaps the first time that the assembly members are leaving the House in such an informal way.

It was bad luck for PTI that it lost its majority in the provincial legislature in the last days of its tenure after it accused 20 of its lawmakers of selling their vote in the Senate election and eventually expelled 14 of them.

This deprived it of its majority as these MPAs turned against the party. As a consequence, the chief minister and the speaker had to face the threat of no-confidence motions.

The government used various tactics to avoid holding the session in a bid to escape the no-trust move from the opposition.

Lawmaker Ziaullah Afridi, who joined the PPP after being expelled from the PTI on corruption charges, had submitted the no-trust motion against Speaker Asad Qaiser.

The ruling PTI also could not hold election on the vacant seat of deputy speaker because of fear of defeat.

Instead of winding up the debate, completing legislation and the business of the House in line with parliamentary traditions, the PTI leadership opted for the easy way out by simply refusing to convene the last session.

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