ISLAMABAD - Parliamentarians on the last day of the 14th National Assembly session seemingly left behind party affiliations and personal grudges to make it a memorable day with laughter, photo-shoots, hugs and selfies.

The outgoing 14th National Assembly ended with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi saying that neither they (government) nor the opposition would accept a delay in the upcoming general election.

Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi prior to the reading the prorogation order of the National Assembly in his last ruling said that it would be a constitutional obligation to conduct the general election in 60 days after the dissolution of the assemblies. He also mentioned that the people should not cast their vote to those who favoured undemocratic attitudes and called to launch civil disobedience in the country.

Prime Minister Abbasi, in his last address, said that neither the government side nor the opposition would accept any suggestion for a delay in upcoming general polls. “The cause of democracy demands free, fair and transparent elections,” he said and proposed a national dialogue to define the relationship among institutions and evolve a consensus on critical issues.

Abbasi called for forming a “truth and reconciliation commission” to look back into history and evolve a consensus to resolve national issues. “The national dialogue will help resolve the civil-military, parliament-judiciary and judiciary-executive relations,” he commented.

Sharing the performance of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, he said that the economy of the country has been revamped as now a growth rate of about six percent has been achieved. “Radical tax reforms have been introduced while energy crisis has been overcome due to the policies of the government,” he said and took the credit that Pakistan had become an investment destination for all foreign and local investors.

About the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor, Abbasi said that it would offer trade and economic opportunities for Pakistan which will play an important role in Pakistan’s economic growth.

About country’s foreign policy, he said that Pakistan had never compromised on its national sovereignty. “This government has raised the Kashmir issue at every forum,” he said.

He also claimed that the security situation has improved in the country as the valiant armed forces had successfully defeated the menace of terrorism and restored peace in the country. He particularly mentioned the restoration of peace in the metropolitan city of the country (Karachi).

The PML-N government, he said, has initiated numerous projects to ensure sufficient availability of electricity by 2030. “This government has the credit to discover 114 new gas discoveries. The supply of gas will be made available by 2020 through Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline,” he said.

Abbasi said that the outgoing government had brought a revolution in internal and regional connectivity as 1,700 kilometres long motorways have either been completed or in the completion phase across Pakistan.

Abbasi mentioned about the first ‘national water policy’ approved recently.  “The PML-N government has initiated Mohmand and Diamer-Bhasha dams to overcome the water shortage in the country,” he said and mentioned that ‘Thar coal’ was also being used for cheap electricity generation. He further said that FATA’s merger with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa was also a hallmark of the PML-N government.

The premier also lauded the role of the media saying: “Free media is necessary in a functional democracy to highlight people’s issues.”

Earlier, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah said that there was a dire need to promote education which would help strengthen democracy in the country.

“Democracy and economy can only be strengthened in Pakistan through education,” he said and added that all lawmakers should make efforts to strengthen the parliament and democracy.

Speaker National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq, in his last remarks, admitted that the five years’ tenure ended in cooperation with the opposition despite their political compulsions.

Sharing the comparison with the previous assemblies, he said that the National Assembly which during the period from 2002 to 2007 passed 38 laws and 93 bills from 2008 to 2013. He said the outgoing assembly in its five-year term from 2013 to 2018 passed 151 laws. He also took credit that the companies’ bill which was voluminous was also passed.  The 14th National Assembly has passed a maximum number of 187 bills during its tenure from 2013-18 including 57 new laws, six finance acts, five constitution amendments, three amendments (repeal) and 82 amendments were made in existing laws.

The speaker lauded the services of each leader of every political party in his speech including Ejaz Jakhrani, Shireen Mazari, Naeema Kishwar, Riaz Pirzada and others. He also thanked the leader of the opposition, treasury and opposition parliamentarians, assembly staff, heads of various committees, chief whips and others for extending cooperation to him during the last five years.

In a 7-hour long session, other MNAs in their last speeches mainly appreciated the role of Sadiq.

PPP’s Aftab Shahban Mirani thanked the speaker for giving certificates to the members of the assembly. He expressed the hope that Sadiq will win the next elections.

He also appreciated the role of Khursheed Shah in conducting the House business.

Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Pirzada offered the National Assembly speaker to contest elections from his constituency. He appreciated the sacrifices of the armed forces for safeguarding the frontiers of the country.

PTI’s Shireen Mazari appreciated the performance of the speaker. “PTI members are quick learners as we in our first term fully participated,” she said and also appreciated the role Khursheed Shah for his conduct during the five years of the Parliament. Other lawmakers also appreciated the role of members of the National Assembly for ensuring the supremacy of the Parliament.

The House, in its legislation, also passed a bill to increase the salary of the president up to Rs846,550 per month.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab, at the fag end of proceedings, introduced “The President’s Salary, and Privileges (Amendment) Bill, 2018” proposing an increase in the salary up to Rs846,550 per month.

In the middle of the proceedings, certificates were distributed among all members of the National Assembly in the House on behalf of the Speaker.

The 14th National Assembly saw a total of 56 sessions from June 1, 2013, to May 31, 2018. In addition to this, 12 joint sessions of the Parliament were also held during this tenure. The House also remained in session for the longest time during PTI’s and Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s 126-day sit-in in the federal capital.