ISLAMABAD - The government and Opposition unanimously decided to summon special session of National Assembly on next Monday.

This was decided in a Parliamentary  Committee on Virtual Session of the National Assembly during COVID-19 met under the Chairmanship of Syed Fakhar Imam.

The members and Parliamentary leaders of political parties recommended for holding the session of National Assembly under strict adherence of health gudielines and SoPs for ensuring safety of the members and the staff of the National Assembly. 

The Committee recommended for restricting the three hours long Parliamentary debate on alternate days to the measures taken by the government for curtailing the spread COVID-19, impact of the virus on economy of the country and measures taken by the government for its resuscitation. 

The Committee recommended that no non-legislative agenda be taken in the session, therefore, no question hour, adjournment motion, call attention notice and privilege motions be taken up for discussion. 

As far as the attendance of the members was concerned, the Committee recommended that it would be prorogrative of the Parliamentary leadership of the political parties to manage the attendance of their members. It was also recommendaed that Palriamentarins and staff of the Secretariat be tested for coronavirus ahead of the session. 

The Committee keeping in view the entry of extensive number of visitors to the Parliament House during sessions, it was recommended that entry of visitors in the Parliament House and Parliament Lodges be restricted, however, Ministers may be advised to bring only one staff member with them.

The Committee further recommended that Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) being the representative body of the Parliamentary Reporters may be asked to decide number of journalists to cover the proceedings of the sittings of the Assembly session. The Committee also decided to recommend for plying special flights from Karachi and Quetta to Islamabad during the session.

PML-N Parliamentary leader Khawaja Muhammad Asif announced to withdraw requisition submitted by his party and its allies for summoning the session on the assurance of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi to summon session of Assembly in next week of the current month. 

Working out the modalities for holding physical Sessions alongwith duration of each sitting of the National Assembly during COVID-19 was on the agenda of  meeting.

The committee deliberated upon the business to be taken up in the session, quorum and health safety measures / SOPs and special logistic arrangements to enable the members and the National Assembly Staff to attend the sessions. 

The Committee would submit recommendations to the Speaker National Assembly enabling him to make appropriate directions to the government for holding the session of the Assembly.