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Pakistan parliament speaker likely to summon 1st assembly session

Pakistan parliament speaker likely to summon 1st assembly session

 
- Raja Pervaiz Ashraf set to decide about inaugural parliament session on Feb. 29, official confirms to Anadolu
 

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD (AA) – Pakistan Parliament Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is expected to summon the maiden sitting of newly elected lawmakers on Feb. 29 after President Arif Alvi reportedly refused to call the National Assembly session, an official said on Tuesday.

Ashraf has called a meeting to decide the date and time which will be announced soon, a senior official at the National Assembly Secretariat told Anadolu on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak with media.

“Yes, it's correct that the Speaker will summon the session on Feb. 29 and he called a meeting today to take the final decision,” the official said.

The development came amid reports that Alvi refused to summon the newly elected National Assembly session before March 1 because of the non-issuance of a notification by the Election Commission of Pakistan regarding reserved seats to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

The majority of jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party-backed independents have joined the SIC, a small religiopolitical party, intending to gain more seats in the national and provincial assemblies reserved for women and religious minorities.

Nonetheless, the Election Commission was yet to allot reserved seats.

The electoral body allocates reserved seats based on the proportion of a party's winning seats in the house.

So far, the presidency has not issued any statement about the president’s decision.

Under the country's constitution, the president will summon the first session within 21 days after the general election, in this case by Feb. 29 after polls were held on Feb. 08.

Meanwhile, speaking to the media in Islamabad, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Barrister Gohar Khan said that no assembly session could be called without notifying reserved seats.

“The Punjab (Assembly) session was carried out in an illegal manner. The Sindh Assembly session was carried out in an illegal manner. If the National Assembly session is called that will also be illegal because the assemblies should be convened after all the members of the House are notified,” he said.

The Election Commission is expected to decide about the SIC reserve seats on Wednesday, said Khan.

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