ISLAMABAD - In a significant development, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani Tuesday approved to “circulate the notice of motion of his removal” filed by the opposition but leaving ambiguity whether the no-confidence motion could be moved in a requisitioned or a regular session of the Upper House.

While Sanjrani approved the motion, he did not take any decision on the the requisition submitted by the opposition for summoning of the session to move no-confidence motion against him giving rise to the speculations that the no-trust motion would only be allowed in a regular session and the government may delay the session for 120 days. “Chairman Senate has approved to circulate the notice of “Motion for Removal of Chairman Senate” in terms of Rule 12 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012,” a statement issued by the Senate Secretariat said.

Accordingly, the Senate Secretariat circulated the notice among all the members as well as has written to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs for further necessary action at their end, the secretariat added.

The opposition parties in the Senate on July 9 had submitted a no-confidence motion with the Senate Secretariat along with a notice of requisition to convene the session to do the same. The opposition insists that the chairman was bound to summon the session within 14 days after a requisition is submitted.

Ambiguity still surrounds whether no-confidence motion could be moved in a requisitioned or a regular session

Any business to be transacted in the house is placed on agenda with the approval of chairman Senate and Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs is accordingly informed about business, a spokesman of the Senate Secretariat said. But he refused to comment why no decision was taken on the requisition.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and senior lawyer Dr Babar Awan following his meeting with the chairman Senate on Monday last had said that it was the prerogative of the President to summon the regular session. For the summoning of the session on a requisition, it is the power of the chairman Senate to decide whether there was some urgency to summon it, he added.

Before this, he in a statement had said that no-trust move could not be allowed in a requisitioned session as regular session would have to be summoned for this purpose. He said that requisitioned session could only be summoned on emergency basis adding that rules of business were silent regarding requisitioning of the session.

The opposition on July 9 had submitted two letters to the secretary Senate, one for the requisition of the session under Article 54 (3) read with Article 61 of the Constitution and other for removal of the Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani under Rules 12 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012. The second letter included a no-confidence resolution for removal of the chairman. However, requisition of the session was sought in both the letters.

In a letter written to the opposition, the Senate secretariat on July 13 said that it has received two separate requisitions for summoning of the session by the chairman and confusion should be cleared over this.

“Therefore, you are required to kindly intimate this secretariat as to which one of the two requisitions signed by you shall be processed by the Senate secretariat for summoning (the session) under the Constitution, rules and standing orders of the Senate session. Further action will be taken on receipt of your reply,” the letter written to parliamentary leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the house Ms Sherry Rehman said.

In his response to the secretary Senate, Leader of Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq on July 15 in a letter said that the two letters submitted to Senate Secretariat on July 9 may be treated as one for the purpose of the summoning of the session.

“In order to remove the confusion created by your letter under reply, both letters which have been submitted on 9th July, 2019 may be read in conjunction with each other and may be treated as one letter for the purpose of the requisitioning of the Senate in terms of Article 54 (3) read with Article 61 of the Constitution of Pakistan and notice of a motion for leave to move a resolution...for removal of the Chairman Senate,” the letter said. It further said that the opposition hoped that the session would be summoned immediately on the receipt of this letter.

Meanwhile, Senate Secretariat has suggested the chairman Senate that he could seek legal opinion from the Law Ministry “to clear the confusion over the silent rules whether a no-trust motion could be moved against chairman in a requisitioned session.”

The Senate secretariat views that the matter of no-confidence could not be brought in the requisitioned session, the official sources in the secretariat informed. The secretariat maintains that only matters of public interest could be discussed in the requisitioned session and no-trust move could only be brought in the regular session.