Theweekendleader

Pak govt persuading oppn to hold National Assembly virtual session

Islamabad

30-April-2020

The Pakistan government has been persuading the opposition parties to hold a virtual session of the National Assembly or the lower house of the country's parliament after two parliamentarians tested positive of COVID-19, an official said on Thursday.

The high-ranked official from the National Assembly told Xinhua news agency that the session has to be called to fulfil the constitutional requirement to hold its sessions of the remaining 58 days for completing its mandated 130 days sitting, in the parliamentary calendar year ending in September.

"Definitely, it is mandatory to complete 130 days of the session, but the government does not want to convert Prliament house into an infection house amid rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Parliament has more duty to show responsibility in this difficult situation," the official added.

The government has formed a special committee of parliamentary leaders to decide whether to hold a virtual session or not.

Earlier on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi participated in the virtual session of the parliamentary leaders' special committee to decide about the session.

Qureshi told the media that the decision to convene parliament's online or physical session would be taken with consensus and in consultation with all member political parties.

He added that all the parliamentary leaders presented positive and good suggestions for the session which would be discussed with the speaker of the National Assembly.

On April 22, the opposition parties submitted requisition with the approval of 98 members to call a physical session of the National Assembly within 14 days to discuss some important issues related to COVID-19.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, chairman of the opposition party Pakistan Peoples Party, also demanded to summon a full and physical session, saying that it is the speaker's duty to ensure the safety of all members' health.

According to the Health Ministry on Thursday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 15,759 with 346 deaths in the country.

The data showed that 4,052 patients have also recovered which is 25.7 per cent of the total number of cases tested positive. IANS