Pakistan

Govt postpones tomorrow’s joint session of parliament

A joint session of the parliament, scheduled tomorrow, has been postponed, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Wednesday.

The session had been called by the government in order to pass the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance (Amendment) Bill and electoral reforms bill among other legislation items.

Chaudhry, in a statement on Twitter, said National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser would hold talks with the Opposition over electoral reforms.

“Electoral reforms are the country’s future and we, with the best of intentions, are trying to develop a consensus on this. In this regard, [the speaker] has been tasked to hold talks with the Opposition so that a unanimously agreed upon electoral reform bill can be presented,” he said.

The information minister said the session has been postponed in the hope that the Opposition would consider the government’s proposal seriously and work towards making a unanimously agreed-upon plan of action.

“In case this does not happen, we will still not step back from electoral reforms,” he added.

The information minister made no mention of when the parliamentary session would instead be called.

Right before the announcement, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed lawmakers of the government and its allies, stressing the need for introducing electoral reforms.

The prime minister told the lawmakers that the voting in the joint parliamentary session should be considered jihad, as it was not for his personal benefit, it was for the country.

Opposition lashes out at government

Responding to the postponement, PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said just now, the “rejected” prime minister had asked the lawmakers to consider voting in the parliamentary session jihad.

“So can the nation ask why was the was the ‘jihad’ abruptly postponed? Although the nation is well-aware of [what is happening], but still, there was a need to ask [this question],” she said.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb asked censured Fawad and said that instead of running away, he should admit the truth and accept that the government did not have the required numbers to get the bills passed.

The PML-N spokesperson claimed that not only the allies, but the government’s own lawmakers were not ready to back the legislation.

Aurangzeb asked why did the government remember to hold negotiations with the Opposition after calling the joint session.

PPP Central Information Secretary Shazia Marri said the government had postponed the joint session as it could see its defeat. “Running away from the joint session of the parliament shows that the government is confused.”

The PPP leader said PM Imran Khan had “lost” his importance in the parliament, as he did not have the support from all the government lawmakers.

“PTI lawmakers are frustrated with the government. And now, Imran Khan can neither face the nation nor can he face the people who represent them.”


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