ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday stressed the need for giving due importance to the Senate and assured the senators that he would himself attend the Upper House’s winter session, starting from today (Wednesday).

The prime minister was talking to the senators belonging to the PTI and its allied parties, who called on him here under the leadership of Leader of the House in Senate Shibli Faraz only a day before the commencement of the session after a delay of around four months.

An official source, quoting Senator Faraz, said that the prime minister held a discussion with the senators on the items of legislation to be taken up in the parliament, including the newly amended accountability law.

According to an official statement, the meeting discussed the overall political situation in the country, and the performance of the government vis-a-vis its reforms agenda during 2019.

“The government’s agenda is based on reforms and focused on the welfare of the people,” the PM said, adding that the country’s economy had strengthened despite financial difficulties due to the government’s efforts.

Stresses due importance be given to the upper house

He said that confidence of the business community and the investors had been restored now. “2020 would be the year of masses,” the PM said, adding that the government would try to ensure that people reaped the benefits of stability in the economy.

Reiterating his resolve to root out corruption from the society, PM Imran said it was the basic feature of PTI’s manifesto.

Opposition objects to

convening of Senate session:

Meanwhile, the opposition has objected to the convening of the Senate session by the government, saying this was done in haste, and without a prior notice of 48 hours.

“The government has abruptly called a Senate session without giving a prior 48-hour notice, which is inappropriate and has caused inconvenience to the senators during the smog season when flights are unavailable,” said Parliamentary Leader of PPP in Senate Ms Sherry Rehman in a statement. “How will those coming from Sindh and Balochistan make it to Islamabad in this hostile weather?” she said. She remarked “the government’s lack of seriousness was unbelievable.”

However, the official sources informed The Nation that the government had called the session after taking the opposition into confidence.

They added that Senator Faraz had taken Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, Senator Sherry Rehman and other parliamentary leaders into confidence on the issue.

The leader of the House had a stance that it would take 14 days to summon the House on a requisition submitted by the opposition so that the government wanted to summon the session at once.

The House, in the upcoming session, will debate the new accountability law besides other issues of national importance.

The opposition would engage in a heated debate in the House over the government’s move to tabling a number of presidential ordinances in the National Assembly and not in the Senate.

Earlier, Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani had written to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, stating that the session had not been called according to the provisional calendar of the parliamentary year. “The delay would make it difficult for the House to meet for at least 110 days in a parliamentary year as required under the Constitution,” he added.

The opposition parties had shown their reservations over delay in summoning the House, and had alleged that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) wanted to paralyze the House.

It, on Monday, had also submitted a requisition to summon the House.