Parliamentary leaders to meet via Skype amid COVID-19 crisis

Meeting on forming panel to be held online in view of rising infections

​ Our Correspondent March 24, 2020
National Assembly of Pakistan. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: A joint sitting of the parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly and Senate to discuss and constitute a parliamentary committee on coronavirus and its impact on the country’s economy will now be held through a video link in the Parliament House on Wednesday (today).

According to a notification issued on Tuesday, the decision had been taken in the wake of lockdown and increase in the number of COVID-19 infections.

The parliamentary leaders have been requested to make their Skype IDs and ensure their presence in the meeting through video link.
Earlier, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had called a meeting of the parliamentary leaders requesting them to ensure their attendance in the Parliament House for in-camera briefing on the potential risks of the coronavirus and its adverse effects on the country’s economy.

A formal notice in this regard had been sent to all the parliamentary leaders, including Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Opposition Leader in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar,

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Swati, Adviser to PM on Finance and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Special Assistant to PM on Health Dr Zafar Mirza.

Meanwhile, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani has already forwarded the names of 15 senators to the NA speaker for inclusion in the parliamentary committee.

The names of senators for consideration in the parliamentary committee are Shibli Faraz, Raja Zafarul Haq, Azam Swati, Mushahidullah Khan, Sherry Rehman, Muhammad Ali Saif, Hasil Bizenjo, Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Usman Kakar, Sirajul Haq, Sitara Ayaz, Jahanzeb Jamaldini, Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Anwarul Haq Kakar and Aurangzeb Khan.

Qaiser in a meeting on Saturday had requested Sanjrani to forward the names of lawmakers for constituting a parliamentary committee on COVID-19.

During the meeting, the senate chairman lauded the initiative to form a parliamentary committee to tackle this unprecedented challenge.
He maintained it was incumbent upon the political leadership to jointly devise a strategy as the cases of virus were being reported from all over the country.

Sanjrani praised the political leadership for standing together in this difficult time saying that with the help of the Almighty, the country would be able to prevent the spread of the virus.

He emphasized that it was the social responsibility of every citizen, parliamentarian and employee to avoid unnecessary gatherings in this critical time.

The NA speaker also urged the parliamentary leaders in the lower house to send the names so that the panel could start functioning at the earliest and forward its recommendations to the government to cope up with the pandemic.

Noting that the coronavirus had become a global issue which brought serious implications for the world economies, the speaker said that the virus adversely affected the economy of the country and posed multiple challenges in the coming days.

He observed the committee would also give its recommendations to the government on the economic front.

The NA speaker advised the nation to remain united in the fight against the deadly disease.

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