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September 17, 2020

Speaker continues NA session despite lack of quorum

National

September 17, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly (NA) fell short of continuing debate on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway rape case and taking up legislative business due to lack of quorum on Wednesday.

The PML-N member Shaikh Fiazuddin pointed out lack of quorum at the outset and the chair had to suspend proceedings till completion of required number of members in the House. As the proceedings resumed after over an hour and 20 minutes, the Speaker Asad Qaisar directed for counting members present in the House.

On that the PML-N parliamentary leader Khawaja Asif challenged the counting process, saying the proceedings should be suspended. He said as the proceedings were suspended for over an hour, therefore, there could be no counting as per rules.

He said the opposition would again point out lack of quorum if the chair resumed proceedings. “The proceedings are illegal and unconstitutional,” Khawaja Asif said, adding that the opposition would move the court against illegal proceedings.

Former speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq also opposed counting process asking the chair that the House should not be undignified.

In the meantime, the minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs moved a motion for suspending rules which was adopted by the House.

The Speaker resumed proceedings on completion of quorum but again suspended the same for 30 after seeing strong protest from the opposition benches.

On resumption again, the opposition members left the National Assembly hall leaving government’s parliamentarians in the House.

Taking the floor, the adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan said the proceedings could not be run at anybody’s desire. He maintained that no rules were violated, saying that as any law involving national security issues could be extended for six months, the National Assembly rules could also be suspended. “The Speaker has done nothing unconstitutional,” he said.

He challenged Khawaja Asif to move the court if he feels that proceedings are illegal. “Khawaja Asif should also take me with him to the court,” he said.

The National Assembly besides discussing the rape case was to take two bills, the Privatisation Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Emigration (Amendment) Bill, 2020 for passage.

The government was also prepared to introduce two bills including the President’s Salary, Allowances and Privileges (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Prime Minister’s Salary, Allowances and Privileges (Amendment Bill, 2020.