ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has summoned the National Assembly and the Senate to meet on Monday afternoon.
It will be the 50th and most likely the last sitting of the National Assembly before it completes its five-year term on March 16 and the Senate will be meeting for its 91st session.
Talking to Dawn, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Farooq H. Naek said that the National Assembly would die its natural death on March 16 and the next session beginning on Monday could be its last.
The minister said the government had decided to let the National Assembly complete its full term and not to dissolve it before that.
In its agreement with Dr Tahirul Qadri last month, the government had agreed to dissolve the National Assembly before March 16 and let the Election Commission of Pakistan hold elections within 90 days.
But in a meeting on Saturday, Dr Qadri accepted the government’s request to let the National Assembly complete its term.
Under the Constitution, if the National Assembly is dissolved before the expiry of its term, the ECP is given 90 days for holding polls; otherwise the election process will have to be completed within 60 days.
About a possible date of elections, Mr Naek said if everything went well it would be in the second week of May.
About the bills the government might push through the National Assembly in its last session, Mr Naek said they would be mostly of routine nature.
He said the government had one important bill at hand, for the creation of ‘the Province of Bahawalpur-Janoobi Punjab comprising territories of Multan, Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan divisions and districts of Mianwali and Bhakkar’. He said the bill had already been presented in the Senate and it was lying with the committee concerned.
The law minister said: “Let’s see how the bill, which is for the enactment of the 24th constitutional amendment, fares first at the committee level and then in the Senate and if it clears these hurdles then of course the National Assembly will have to pass it with two-thirds majority.”
The PPP and its major coalition partner PML-Q desperately wanted to do necessary legislation at the federal level to create the new province in order to achieve some political mileage over the PML-N in southern Punjab. But now it looks almost impossible when the MQM has parted ways with the government.
Chances of the bill to become an act of parliament, according to analysts, are nil because PML-N, the ruling party in Punjab, has opposed it.
Under the Constitution, no bill meant for dividing a province could become a law until adopted by the provincial assembly concerned by two-thirds majority.
The National Assembly is likely to take up government bills for setting up the National Counter Terrorism Authority, Defence Housing Authority Islamabad and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Medical University. The bills introduced in the house during its last sitting and are pending with the committees concerned.