Pakistan parliament’s budget session from June 2

May 28th, 2008 - 1:41 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf

Islamabad, May 28 (IANS) Pakistan’s National Assembly will meet from June 2 for the first budget session of the new government amidst continuing uncertainty over the future of President Pervez Musharraf and the judges he sacked after imposing an emergency last November. The National Assembly’s second regular session and that of the Senate beginning on June 4 “would be meant to pass the present government’s first budget for fiscal 2008-09, but political sources said the ruling coalition would have the option to use the two houses of parliament in a possible confrontation with a discredited presidency before the budget is unveiled on June 7″, Dawn reported Wednesday.

The budget sessions of both the houses are likely to be marked by heated debates over the prevailing economic hardships due to rocketing food and fuel prices, wheat and flour shortages, power cuts and the new government’s response to meet the challenge with likely relief to consumers and salaried classes, it added.

There is expected to be an equally sharp focus on the troubled coalition’s failure so far to redeem its pledge to reinstate the deposed judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts.

The National Assembly, constituted on March 17, held its first regular session April 10-25. It was prorogued without passing a promised resolution on reinstating the sacked judges.

Now, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that leads the ruling coalition plans to get a resolution on this passed by a joint session of the 342-seat National Assembly and the 100-seat Senate.

“There was no indication yet when such a joint session would be held, which must be called by the president on the advice of the prime minister,” Dawn said.

Two deadlines for the reinstatement of the deposed judges have passed. The PPP has now formulated what it terms a comprehensive constitution amendment package that also aims to divest Musharraf of much of his powers and give these to parliament or the prime minister.

As part of the package, the constitution’s concurrent list will be abolished to grant more autonomy to provinces and the North West Frontier Province will be renamed Pakhtunkhawa.

Law Minister Farook H. Naek had indicated last week that the constitutional package might be introduced in parliament before the budget, but both PPP co-chair Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, “in line with a new party policy of prolonging the guessing game, have said it could happen before or after the budget”, Dawn said.

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