COVID-19: President Alvi summons NA session on Monday

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ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi has summoned a session of the National Assembly of Pakistan on Monday, according to the Lower House’s official Twitter account. 

“The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan has summoned the session of the National Assembly on Monday, May 11th, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. in the Parliament House,” stated a tweet from the National Assembly of Pakistan.

The development took place hours after PM Imran announced today (Thursday) that the government was moving towards easing the coronavirus lockdown across the country.

Speaking after a meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC), which is the apex coronavirus decision-making body comprising top civil and military leaders, including the provincial chief executives, PM Imran said the country would be opened “in a phased manner from Saturday”.

“It is now the responsibility of the masses to follow the rules; otherwise, we would be forced to reverse the decision. I was in favour of allowing public transport but the provinces did not agree to it.

“It has therefore been decided that the provinces will make their own standard operating procedures (SOPs) and share [them] with the Centre.” 

Fawad Chaudhry throws weight behind virtual parliament session

A couple of days ago, science and technology minister Fawad Chaudhry had proposed holding a virtual session of the parliament and slammed the opposition for refusing to support the initiative. 

“The Parliament session is necessary but people’s health is also necessary,” Chaudhry had said.

“The speaker [of the National Assembly] has contracted the coronavirus,” he added, referring to PTI leader Asad Qaiser, who had tested positive for COVID-19 alongside his son and daughter on April 30.

The federal minister had said he earlier proposed a virtual meeting. “We don’t go to the Parliament to hug each other; one has to talk, make speeches,” he noted.

Chaudhry had cited the example of a conference organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  he had attended alongside his counterparts from 93 countries.

“We’re creating a vacuum by not involving parliamentarians in decisions of the Parliament,” he had said, stressing that that was not in Pakistan’s best interests.

The Parliament, he added, had a role in the political sphere, which was why it was necessary to call a virtual meeting. Qaiser, the speaker, had earlier announced setting up of special software for the Parliament.

The Opposition parties opposed a virtual meeting of the Parliament and, in turn, resisted the use of technology, he had observed.

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