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Shahbaz to give speech in NA on presidential address today

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October 29, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif will lead discussion in the National Assembly by opening speech on the address of President Arif Alvi on the first day of the forth sitting of the lower house of Parliament. The president addressed the joint sitting of Parliament on September 17.

The government will put up a motion for vote of thanks for the presidential address. The National Assembly Secretariat has issued agenda for the first day of the session. The house will discuss a call attention notice regarding unavailability of potable water in all parts of the country, including Islamabad and particularly Karachi, creating grave concern amongst the people.

The federal government will also place two separate bills on prohibition of smoking in cinema houses and juvenile smoking which have already been passed by the Senate. The two bills were drafted by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi during the PML-N government. Four opposition members will through another move a calling attention notice pertaining to imposition of condition of filer for purchase of an auto rickshaw despite the fact that non-filers are allowed to purchase and register any vehicle in their names and it is causing grave concern amongst the public.

Prime Minster Imran Khan will attend the proceedings before Friday, the day he will be embarking upon a visit to China. He will also take the National Assembly into confidence on his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and government’s efforts for obtaining foreign fiscal assistance to overcome the current economic crisis and prospects of his China visit.

The sources apprehend that the NAB could fail to bring Shahbaz Sharif on the opening day of the National Assembly session, as he will be produced in the NAB court in Lahore today (Monday) and in case of change of custody administrative and logistic pretext could be used for his shifting from Lahore to Islamabad.

Meanwhile, sources maintain that the government wouldn’t be able to undertake fresh legislation in the prevailing circumstances without wooing the opposition. The so-called “Whistleblower Protection Law” that has been drafted on the pattern of 19 years old American legislation of “Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989’’ could hardly be passed by the National Assembly since some membersbelonging to the ruling alliance have serious reservations about the piece of legislation including the allied partners.

The sources reminded that if the opposition isn’t on board for adoption of the law, it could conveniently block it in the Senate. The ruling alliance doesn’t constitute majority even if the joint sitting of the two houses of Parliament is summoned after the rejection of the bill by Senate.

The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had issued a notification of election of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from Lahore that was held by it. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former federal minister for railways Khawaja Saad Rafiq and nine other members-elect National Assembly who won their respective berth in October 14 by-elections will take the oath of membership in opening sitting, the sources added.

The parliamentary party of the opposition members will also hold its meeting before start of the National Assembly session in the committee room of Parliament and it will be chaired by its leader Shahbaz Sharif.

Abbasi and other PML-N members-elect will also attend the meeting. The sources said the National Assembly’s another session will take place immediate after conclusion of forth session in the second week of next month that has been requisitioned by the opposition members with the plea to discuss arrest of leader of Shahbaz Sharif by the NAB.

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