Senate meets today to discuss coronavirus pandemic

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ISLAMABAD: The Senate will meet at 11am today to discuss and debate the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjarani had announced the session upon the opposition’s requisition. Sanjrani while presiding over a session of the Senate House Business Advisory Committee, had said that less staff should be present on the day of the session.

Opposition leader in the Senate Raja Zafar-ul-Haq had said that due to the ongoing pandemic all the members didn’t need to attend the session at the same time.

The chairman had added that adequate measures have been taken for the meeting of the lawmakers and that measures based on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been put in place inside the Senate hall.

Sanjrani had added that the session would not be for more than two hours, spanning over a week, and that it would be ensured that there would be no gathering of lawmakers anywhere at the premises or the hall.

Last week, Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwalla had suggested that the sessions of both Houses of Parliament should be postponed after two parliamentarians were found infected with the coronavirus.

The National Assembly held its first session after nearly two months on Monday, despite several members testing positive for the virus.

“The virus has reached the parliamentary galleries,” Mandviwalla had said, expressing concern over reports of parliamentarians and assembly staff contracting coronavirus.

“More lawmakers and staff are likely to be affected by the virus,” he said and warned that summoning the National Assembly and the Senate sessions at this time could have serious consequences.

He had urged that the proceedings [of both the houses of Parliament] be delayed, and steps should be taken so that no one entered the premises untested.

Rehman Malik wants meaningful Parliament session on COVID-19

Senate Standing Committee on Interior Chairman Senator Rehman Malik in letters to leader of the opposition in Senate and Advisor to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan said he wanted to adopt his resolutions for the well-being of the country, adding that the Parliament session on COVID-19 should be meaningful and result-oriented rather customary

“Our country, unfortunately, will have a drastic increase in the cases of coronavirus because of no social distancing and government confusion about the lockdown,” he had said.

He added that the steps recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) were not being followed in markets, streets and other public places. He added that he had advised the prime minister to deal the coronavirus as per WHO’s SOPs.

“The 37 Points Anti-Coronavirus National Action Plan that I recommended contain all the SOPs and have been approved by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior. “The situation would far different and better if those 37 points were followed in true letter and spirit,” he said.

He added that neither was he criticising nor doing any blame game but being the Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior, he felt that it will be his failure in national duty if he does not point out the mistakes. “Our survival is in complete lockdown and there is nothing called smart lockdown in the law,” he added.

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