ISLAMABAD - President Arifur Rehman Alvi will address the joint sitting of the Parliament in the afternoon today (Monday) to mark the start of a new parliamentary year.

Governors and chief ministers of all the four provinces, AJK prime minister, chief minister Gilgit-Baltistan, services chiefs and diplomats stationed in Islamabad are likely to attend the maiden address of the president.

Though there is no formal agitation plan by the opposition parties during the presidential address to the joint sitting of the Parliament but the opposition benches might register their protest and concern over the government’s failure to constitute a Parliamentary Commission to probe the alleged rigging in July 25 general elections.

Soon after July 25 when the opposition had come up with outright rejection of the general election and alleged that massive rigging had taken place in the elections, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leaders including its Chairman Imran Khan had come up with assurance that the party would fully assist and support the move of the opposition parties to probe the alleged rigging to their satisfaction and had also agreed to constitute a parliamentary commission in this regard.

But after forming the government, the PTI had started flip-flopping on the issue and delaying the constitution of the parliamentary commission, although there was no denial in this connection.

Political observers said that the opposition parties would come up with strong protest in the upcoming sessions of National Assembly and Senate already summoned a day after the joint sitting on Tuesday, where the government would likely be placing amendments in the finance bill.

A couple of weeks back, Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif had warned the government that the opposition would not let the Parliament function smoothly till the time the government fulfils its promise of constituting parliamentary commission to probe into rigging in the general elections.

Insiders in the Parliament informed The Nation that Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser was in constant contact with the parliamentary parties’ heads but could not secure any pledge on having smooth sailing both in the joint sitting and the regular sessions of Senate and National Assembly starting from Tuesday.

The speaker had assured the opposition parties that the matter to probe alleged rigging in the general elections through parliamentary commission would surely be materialised and all that the government wanted to know was how this body would function.

He stressed the need of working out the modus operandi of the proposed parliamentary commission for which the government and opposition parties required to sit across the table and work out the terms of reference and other functions of the proposed commission.

Sources in the opposition parties said that they would just record their concern over the rigging in the elections during the joint sitting of the Parliament when the newly-elected President of Pakistan Arif Alvi will deliver his maiden address. However, in the regular sessions to be held on Tuesday, the opposition parties would not let both the houses function and would press the government for constitution of a parliamentary commission to probe the alleged rigging in the general elections, a point on which all the opposition parties are on the same page.