National Assembly session called on March 25 to take up no-trust motion

Ignoring Opposition’s warnings, Asad Qaiser exercises his powers under clauses 54(3) and 254

By: News Desk
Published: 02:28 PM, 20 Mar, 2022
National Assembly session called on March 25 to take up no-trust motion
Caption: File photo.
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National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has called the much-awaited assembly session on March 25 to take up the no-confidence motion submitted by the joint opposition against Prime Minister Imran Khan, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Though the development is set to upset the Opposition which wanted the session to be called before March 22, the speaker summoned the NA to meet at 11:00 am in the Parliament House on Friday

According to the notification issued in Islamabad on Sunday, the speaker called the NA session exercising his powers under Constitution’s clauses 54(3) and 254, and on the requisition submitted by the Opposition.

This is going to be the 41st session of the Lower House of the Parliament.

Speaker gives his reasons

According to Article 54, once a session of the National Assembly has been requisitioned with signatures of at least 25 percent of the members on it, the speaker has a maximum of 14 days to summon a session.

Therefore, the speaker had to call the lower house in session by March 22. However, the notification issued by the NA media department explained that on January 21 a motion was adopted by the National Assembly to allow the exclusive use of its chamber for the 48th session of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers on March 22 and 23.

It further said that due to its own chamber's unavailability, the NA Secretariat had asked the Senate Secretariat to provide its chamber for the lower house's session but it was also unavailable due to renovation work.

The notification further said that the chairman CDA and Deputy Commissioner Islamabad were also approached for the provision of a suitable place outside the Parliament Building but "they have informed in writing that no suitable place is available at present in Islamabad."

"In view of the aforementioned facts and circumstances, it is evident that no suitable place would be available for holding the session of the National Assembly till 24th March," the notification issued in Qaiser's name stated.

"Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred upon me under clause (3) of Article 54 of the Constitution ... I herby summon the session of the National Assembly on the first available date i.e. 25th March."

After the NA is in session, the rules of procedure dictate that the secretary will circulate a notice for a no-confidence resolution, which will be moved on the next working day.

From the day the resolution is moved, it "shall not be voted upon before the expiry of three days, or later than seven days," according to the rules.

NA secretariat staff meeting

Earlier, Speaker Asad Qaiser chaired an important meeting of assembly’s secretariat officials to review the rules for convening assembly’s session.

The speaker held the meeting at his residence in Islamabad which was attended by the officials of National Assembly Secretariat, holding consultations on convening the assembly session and deliberated on rules and procedures in this connection. 

They also considered the option of convening the NA session on March 25 instead of March 21. 

The opposition submitted requisition for summoning the assembly session on March 8 and the Speaker was bound to call the session within 14 days after the opposition’s requisition was submitted.

Earlier, the top opposition parties – PPP and PML-N – have strongly warned the speaker against delaying the National Assembly session.

Sherry Rehman, Marriyum deliver warnings against delay 

On the other hand, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman also demanded of NA Speaker Asad Qaiser to summon assembly’s session on March 21. 

She said after submission of requisition by the opposition, the Speaker was required to call the assembly session within 14 days. Any delay on the part of the Speaker will be a diversion from the constitutional decree, she said adding that PPP Chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s demand to summon the assembly session and put no-confidence motion on the agenda was a rightful demand. 

She advised the Speaker to not break law in order to save Prime Minister Imran Khan and also to not play the role of PTI’s Tiger Force. Otherwise, he would be guilty of violating the constitution and Article 6 would be applied on him, she warned the Speaker

She said in the matter of no-confidence motion, the Supreme Court too ordered to act according to the constitution. And removing a prime minister through no-trust is a constitutional way, she said advising the Speaker to stop taking unconstitutional measures in order to impede no-confidence motion. 

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb has said that the National Assembly Speaker is bound to convene the assembly session within 14 days after one-fourth of its members submit requisition for summoning the session under Clause 3 of Article 54 of the Constitution. 

Also Read: Speaker bound to convene assembly session before March 22: PML-N

In a statement, Ms Aurangzeb reminded NA Speaker Asad Qaiser that he could not delay the convening of the assembly session beyond 14 days. It has clearly been written in the Article 54 of the Constitution. 

Reporters Usman Khan and Usman Javed