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Joint session of Parliament summoned for April 16

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ISLAMABAD: The joint session of the Parliament, marking the start of the new parliamentary year, will be held on April 16 (Tuesday) at 4pm, the President House announced on Monday.

In a statement, the press wing of the President’s House stated that President Asif Ali Zardari has convened the joint session of the Parliament under Articles 54 (1) and 56 (3) of the Constitution.

The newly elected members of the upper and lower houses of the Parliament will be addressed by the president at the commencement of the parliamentary year after the general elections under Article 56 (3) of the Constitution.

It should be noted that this will be the first joint session following the start of the new parliamentary year in the country after both the upper and lower house have its members elected constitutionally following the conduct of general elections.

Despite elections taking place on February 8 and former president Arif Alvi still in office, he was unable to summon a joint session as elections in the Senate were yet to be conducted.

President Zardari, weeks after his oath of the president’s office and the successful conduct of Senate polls, has called the joint session.

Previously, former president Alvi has summoned a joint session of the Parliament on October 6, 2022 — months after a coalition government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was governing the Centre.

However, the then-president Alvi called the session to mark the beginning of the last parliamentary year of the then-National Assembly in 2022.

In his address to the Parliament — marred by an unannounced boycott by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) — former president stressed the need for dialogue and urged to end polarisation amid the country’s growing political instability,

“Polarisation doesn’t end with stubbornness,” he remarked.

During the ex-president’s speech, only 15 lawmakers were present in the audience, which was later reduced to 12. Undeterred by the scanty audience, the president pressed ahead with his address.

Some of the PTI defectors were also present in the hall. Balochistan Awami Party lawmakers were in attendance too.

On the other hand, PTI’s members of the Parliament said they boycotted the session because they did not believe in the then-assembly. Out of 422, only 14 lawmakers were in the hall during the president’s address.

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