ISLAMABAD - The ruling coalition has summoned the National Assembly session on Feb 1 instead of the earlier scheduled Joint Session of Parliament in the first week of next month, to get 20th amendment passed from the house to save some 29 parliamentarians from disqualification.

Sources in the ruling PPP informed TheNation that they were in contact with main opposition parties including PML-N and JUI-F to get the amendment through from the Lower House as the government would not risk to put the amendment to vote as they were short of strength to meet the requisite two-thirds majority. Earlier, Federal Minister Khurshid Shah had a detailed meeting with PML-N Chief Whip in National Assembly Sh Aftab Ahmad and Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan Abbasi seeking the support of PML-N. But the PML-N MPs had refused to make any commitment in this regard and flatly said that they would first take up the matter in their party meeting. Sources in the PPP said that they were busy hobnobbing with the JUI-F, PML-Likeminded Group and PPP-S President Aftab Sherpao to extend support to the government so that some 29 MPs would be saved from disqualification.

Sources further informed that PPP and its allies were confident to acquire the requisite two-thirds strength, though it’s a quite difficult task and some of the PPP leaders were optimistic that they would also bring PML-N on board on this issue as well, because some five MNAs of PML-N would also be affected by the Supreme Court decision in this regard. On the other hand, sources in PML-N informed that their leadership was committed not to budge on the stand taken by Ch Nisar Ali Khan that they would not extend any support to government till the time they would appoint an independent Election Commissioner, settle the matters relating to the eight members of the Election Commission from the provinces and also not get the National Accountability Commission bill through from the Parliament which has been in limbo for past three years.