Opposition boycotts presidential address

Senator Adeel says protest to continue until PM attends Senate session

ISLAMABAD – The joint opposition in the Senate on Monday boycotted the address by President Mamnoon Hussain during a joint session of the parliament as a protest against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan People’s Party leader Senator Aitzaz Ahsan chaired the meeting at the Parliament House in which the Awami National Party recommended that the opposition should boycott the session. The recommendation had been unanimously supported by opposition parties including Balochistan National Party, Pakistan Muslim League–Q and the BNP-Awami.

The opposition parties were of the view that why the opposition should attend the presidential address if the prime minister could not visit the Senate the entire year. Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Senator Ishaq Dar along with Ahsan Iqbal and Birjees Tahir tried to persuade opposition senators to end their boycott, but to no avail.

Senator Dar even amicably grabbed hand of Senator Haji Adeel to take him to the session, but the ANP senior leader refused to go along. He also said that the protest would continue until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the Senate session. According to the constitutional provisions, the president has to address a joint session of the parliament at the beginning of the first session of the National Assembly after a general election or at the start of every parliamentary year.

President Mamnoon’s first presidential address to the parliament has kicked started second parliamentary year of the current National Assembly. The session was attended by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Senate’s Chairman Nayyer Hussain Bokhari and his deputy, National Assembly Speaker Ayad Sadiq, governors, chief ministers, president and prime minister of Azad Jammu Kashmir, three services chiefs, high-ranking officials, and foreign ambassadors.

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