LAHORE - Notwithstanding the mandatory 14 days Constitutional provision about calling the Assembly session on Opposition’s requisition, the Speaker Punjab Assembly has no intention to entertain the request till conclusion of the budget session, it has been learnt. The PML-N-led Opposition had submitted its requisition to convene the Assembly session on October 6 following the arrest of its President by anti-graft body on charges of causing loss to the national exchequer.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Government also convened the budget session for presentation of the budget on October 16, thereby, rendering the Opposition’s requisition ineffective, for the time being though. The mandatory 14 days during which the session has to be convened will end on October 19, but the Opposition will have to wait longer since according to government’s interpretation, the mandatory 14 days will start after conclusion of the budget session which is likely to continue till October 28th.

Under the rules, the Assembly cannot take up any other business except the passage of budget during the budget session. Punjab Assembly sources told The Nation that there were at least three precedents in country’s Parliamentary history when the then governments did not convene the sessions of Senate, National Assembly and Punjab Assembly on the requisition of Opposition of the time during the mandatory period.

Giving details, the sources said that the Opposition had convened the Senate session in 1998 but the Senate Chairman Wasim Sajjad did not entertain the requisition on the plea that the government had also convened the session on the same day.

He then had given a ruling that Senate Chairman will not be bound to convene the session on the requisition of the Opposition if the President also convenes the session on the day the Opposition had submitted its requisition or before expiry of the mandatory days. He had then also ruled that the mandatory 14 days during which the Chairman has to call the session will start after the session convened by the government was over.

Later on, the PML-N-led Opposition submitted its requisition for calling the National Assembly session in 2011. But the then President Asif Ali Zardari also summoned the session on the same day. Consequently, the session could not be convened within the stipulated time. In 2013, the PPP-led Opposition requisitioned Punjab Assembly session, but the government also convened its session the same day. The Opposition later withdrew its requisition after negotiations with the ruling PML-N. Also, Provincial Minister for Information and Culture Fayyaz-ul-Hasan Chohan on Tuesday said that session of Punjab assembly could not be called on Opposition’s request since the government had already called the session on October 16th.

The last Assembly session also ended four days ago, he added. The Minister also said that the PML-N could not shrug off the allegations of corruption even it requisitioned the United Nations meeting. Talking to the media here, Chohan said that NAB was a free institute and it was discharging its responsibilities with impartiality.