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Monday, April 15, 2024

Sindh Assembly becomes first in Pakistan to hold online sessions

While Sindh assembly has announced to hold online sessions of the assembly, the National Assembly and Senate are reluctant to hold virtual sessions. Even though at least 100 lawmakers have been infected.

Spokesman Sindh Government Murtaza Wahab has said that Sindh Assembly will hold online sessions of the assembly in case of emergency. He said that the Sindh Assembly is going to amend its rules today to allow online session.

In a tweet he said, “Sindh Assembly would be amending its Rules today to add a provision allowing for the Speaker to hold online sessions of the Assembly incase of emergency or when it is impracticable. Thus Sindh will become the first Assembly in Pakistan to use technology for its sessions”

National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan, however, have not yet announced to take any measures to hold online sessions.

Since the treasury and opposition benches of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh (PA) have failed to develop consensus on the proposal to hold a completely digital session to present the new budget, a hybrid system is likely to be adopted for the meeting.

Read more: Resolution against fake domiciles, PRC submitted in Sindh Assembly but not by PPP

According to the hybrid system, 15 to 20 per cent of the legislators will physically attend the session in the assembly hall, while rest of the lawmakers (80 to 85 per cent) will be provided the opportunity to attend the session digitally.

Those attending the session via video conferencing will also be given the opportunity to express their opinions on the new provincial budget and participate in the voting to approve or disapprove the budgetary proposals.

Fawad Chaudhry advises to hold online sessions

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has said that he won’t attend the National Assembly sessions.

The minister said that he said the decision to convene the session was wrong.

Read more: Pandemonium in Sindh Assembly: Who Abused Who?

Chaudhry said they had suggested convening a virtual session and were ready to design software for that.

But the parliamentary committee gave in to the insistence of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, he said.

“[We] should have gone towards a modern parliament through virtual session,” the minister said on the show.

He, however, noted one drawback of the virtual session: it does not allow the opposition to tear apart copies of the agenda.

Chaudhry believed the PML-N insisted on convening the session to stay relevant.

He said just one infected person was all that was required to infect the rest of the parliamentarians.

Pakistani Lawmakers infected

At least 106 politicians, including 100 lawmakers from the country’s national and provincial assemblies, have tested positive with COVID-19.

Over 7% of K-P lawmakers infected with coronavirus.

Several lawmakers in Pakistan have tested positive for the coronavirus including former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gillani, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, PML-N leaders Ahsan Iqbal, Shehbaz Sharif and Marriyum Aurangzeb.

The country has reported more than 144,000 cases of the virus and recorded more than 2,700 deaths.

President Dr Arif Alvi in an interview with a private television channel rejected the possibility of holding an online session of the Parliament, said that there is no problem if the session is held with social distancing.

Read more: Sindh Assembly Speaker arrested by NAB

Many parliaments of the world have already begun to hold online sessions. However, parliament of Pakistan is reluctant to hold virtual sessions.