ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain will address the joint sitting of the parliament today for the first time after being elected as the president, with slight chances that opposition parties will go for any major protest during the session.
Under Article 56 of the constitution, the president is required to address the joint sitting of the parliament to kick start the new parliamentary year.
Breaking the past traditions when presidents delivered their address in English language, this time Mamnoon will reportedly speak to the parliamentarians in the national language, Urdu. However, it remains to observe whether he will cling to the past tradition of highlighting achievements of the government of the party which elected him to the presidency or would apply his own mind to suggest ways and means to the government for betterment of the masses.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari is credited with record six addresses to the parliament, the last one delivered in June last year when PML-N took the reins at the centre by routing out PPP in the general election held in May last year.
On the other hand, opposition parties are still divided on the issue of protest. The PPP’s camp is likely to listen the presidential address calmly despite pressure from some senators who want to seize the opportunity and raise the issue of prime minister’s absence from the Upper House.
The prime minister will also be present in the joint sitting.
Awami National Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) are likely to go for the protest, however final decision will be taken Monday (today) morning in the meeting of their parliamentary parties.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which is already up in arms against the PML-N government, may join the protest. Sources in the party however do not expect any strong protest.
Besides, chief ministers and governors of provinces, prime minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, chairman joint chiefs of staff committee, chiefs of three armed forces and diplomatic corps will be present in the galleries to hear the speech.
Extra security measures have been put in place for the federal capital, especially the red zone. Extra contingents of police aided by Rangers and FC will be deployed throughout the red zone to ensure peace in the area.
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