ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly will witness no business until the conclusion of by-polls on NA-122 scheduled to be held on October 11 as the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) is confident that its candidate Ayaz Sadiq will recapture the seat so that he could be re-elected as Speaker of the Lower House.

Going by the tentative calendar of the National Assembly, the house will meet on October 26. The last session of the Lower House was prorogued on August 13 and in case the house meets on October 26, it will be the biggest gap between two sessions of the current parliamentary year of the National Assembly as the house would witness no business for over 70 consecutive days.

After Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) de-notified Ayaz Sadiq as MNA, the House cannot meet without election of Speaker and under the Constitution, the National Assembly shall at its meeting elect from its members a Speaker. “That’s the reason the Lower House is not summoned to meet so that Ayaz Sadiq could emerge as victor in NA-122 after which he could be re-elected as speaker when the house meets,” a PML-N lawmaker said.

Although Deputy Speaker Murtaza Abbasi can perform as acting speaker in the absence of Speaker, yet he (deputy speaker) cannot run the house after the seat of Speaker fell vacant after the disqualification of Ayaz Sadiq . Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab told The Nation that the House will need to elect Speaker in its first meeting, however, he dispelled the impression that the Lower House will not be summoned before conclusion of by-polls on NA-122.

“It is the schedule that is followed. Luckily, Ayaz Sadiq lost his seat when there was a long gap between two sessions of the House. But even then we are quite hopeful that whenever the House would be summoned, it would be Ayaz Sadiq who would resume the chair of Speaker,” the minister said. Although PTI too has escalated its electoral campaign in NA-122, yet PML-N and political observers believe that Ayaz Sadiq had a good chance to clinch the seat for second time as he did not challenge the tribunal’s decision in the Supreme Court and instead preferred to contest the polls.

Although opposition members have raised their voices for the Lower House to meet in order to debate the incidents happened in the country. Chief of Awami National Party (ANP) Asfandyar Wali Khan had recently called for join sitting of Parliament to discuss Karachi Operation.

But none of the opposition parties enjoy the required strength to requisition the sitting of the House as it needs signatures of 86 lawmakers in this regard. In case the major opposition parties join hands to call session of the House, it would be their responsibility and not the government’s to ensure quorum in the Lower House.

PTI MNA and spokesperson to party’s Chairman Imran Khan Shereen Mazari wondered as to why the government has kept such a long gap between August and October, adding that why would the government assume that Ayaz Sadiq will win polls in NA-122.

But on the other side, opposition had agreed to the tentative schedule of the National Assembly sessions during the third parliamentary year which is June 1, 2015 to May 31, 2016. A PPP lawmaker said that since opposition had agreed to the calendar, it would be not fair to submit requisition in Secretariat though his party badly needed the House to meet to debate some important issues.

And the employees of National Assembly seem to be the worst affected due to the prolonged halt in business of the House as they would not get the allowances in the absence of any sitting.

“It is the session allowances that make our meager salaries a bit hefty otherwise we cannot make our both ends meet with the normal package. Imagine condition of employees when they will not get sessions allowance for two whole months,” an employee of the Lower House said.