ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Friday summoned a session of the upper house of parliament on May 12 on the requisition of the opposition to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the country’s economy.
Earlier in the day, Sanjrani chaired a meeting of the House Business Advisory Committee and told its participants that standard operating procedures (SOPs) had been formulated for holding the session to ensure the safety of lawmakers amid the viral outbreak.
He said the session was taking place at a time when the country and the rest of the world were facing challenged posed by the coronavirus pandemic and adequate measures had been taken for the lawmakers’ safety.
The session being held in extraordinary circumstances will be held for a week and its proceedings each day will not last more than two hours. The chairman elaborated that SOPs had been prepared to ensure social distancing inside the Senate hall. Seats will also be reserved for members in galleries for this purpose.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq told the participants of the meeting that it was not necessary for all members of the house to attend the session at the same time. Parliamentary parties should chalk out a schedule for a phase-wise attendance of their member, he added.
Opposition requisitions Senate session
It was also decided that the minimum number of Senate staff members would be present during the session.
Besides, a limited number of media personnel will be allowed to cover the proceedings with precautionary measures in place. Gatherings in the house will not be permitted.
Information Minister Shibli Faraz, who is also the leader of the house in Senate, Federal Narcotics Control Minister Senator Azam Swati, PM’s Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan and senators Anwarul Haq Kakar, Aurangzeb Khan Orakzai, Sajjad Hussain Turi, Mushahidullah Khan, Sitara Ayaz, Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif also attended the meeting.
Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla and senators Ghafoor Haideri, Usman Khan Kakar, Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Sirajul Haq and Sherry Rehman participated in the meeting via video link.
On Wednesday, the joint opposition had submitted a requisition for convening a session of the Senate after convincing the government to call a session of the National Assembly next week.
The requisition was signed by 34 members of the upper house of parliament.
It sought a debate on the coronavirus pandemic in the country and a discussion on its effects on the national security and foreign policy.