ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari may set a record by addressing the parliament for the sixth time in the current session.
The president, sources said, was waiting for an invitation from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in this regard.
As per the constitution, the invitation to address the parliament or any of its houses is sent to the Presidency on the advice of the prime minister through parliamentary affairs division, sources said.
“If the president does not receive any such invitation he can ask the government about its plans regarding presidential address,” a source said.
It is, however, believed that the PML-N government may wait for the new president, likely to be from the N-League, to whom an invitation to address the parliament will be formally sent.
President Zardari, whose term will expire on September 8 this year, has already announced that he will not seek re-election.
Section 3, article 57 of the constitution pertaining to president’s address to the parliament during its first session says: “At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the National Assembly and at the commencement of the first session of each year the president shall address both houses assembled together and inform the Majlis-i-Shoora (Parliament) of the causes of its summons.”
Constitutional experts say the first session of the new parliament had started on June 1 during which all its members, including the new prime minister, took their oath and, according to the constitution, the president has to address it during the current session.
When contacted, President’s spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the president would definitely address the parliament if he received any such invitation from the prime minister.
“The president has to address the new parliament at the commencement of the first session,” he added.
Talking to Dawn, PML-N Information Secretary Mushahidullah agreed that the president should address the parliament. “It is a constitutional requirement and we believe that it must be fulfilled,” he said. However, he added that his party had so far not discussed the issue at any forum.