NA session under strict adherence of health SoPs recommended


Observer Report


Committee on Virtual Session of the National Assembly during Covid-19 met under the chairmanship of Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister for National Food Security and Research in Parliament House on Tuesday.
The Committee after discussion and taking into account the suggestions of the members and Parliamentary leaders, recommended for holding the session of National Assembly under strict adherence of health guidelines and SoPs for ensuring safety of the members and the staff of the National Assembly.
The Committee recommended for restricting the three hours long parliamentary debate on alternate days to the measures taken by the government for curtailing the spread Covid-19, impact of the virus on economy of the country and measures taken by the government for its resuscitation.
The National Assembly session will be summoned on May 11 (Monday) to discuss to coronavirus situation in the country and the steps taken by the government to tackle the pandemic.
The Committee recommended that no non-legislative agenda be taken in the session, therefore, no question hour, adjournment motion, call attention notice and privilege motions be taken up for discussion.
As far as the attendance of the members was concerned, the Committee recommended that it would be prerogative of the parliamentary leadership of the political parties to manage the attendance of their members. It was also recommended that parliamentarians and staff of the Secretariat be tested for coronavirus ahead of the session.
Keeping in view the entry of extensive number of visitors to the Parliament House during sessions, the Committee recommended that entry of visitors in the Parliament House and Parliament Lodges be restricted, however, ministers may be advised to bring only one staff member with them. The Committee further recommended that Parliamentary Reporters Association being the representative body of the Parliamentary Reporters may be asked to decide number of journalists to cover the proceedings of the sittings of the assembly session. The committee also decided to recommend for plying special flights from Karachi and Quetta to Islamabad during the session.
PML-N Parliamentary leader Khawaja Muhammad Asif announced to withdraw requisition submitted by his party and its allies for summoning the session on the assurance of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi to summon session of assembly in next week of the current month.