ISLAMABAD: Following the death of ex-premier Nawaz Sharif’s wife Kulsoom Nawaz, Prime Minister Imran Khan has instructed that the joint session of parliament be postponed until Monday, on the opposition’s request.
Kulsoom died at the age of 68 in London, on Tuesday, after succumbing to a long battle with cancer. Her funeral is scheduled to be held on Friday.
President Dr Alvi was to deliver a speech on Thursday, in what would have been his maiden address, to to mark the beginning of the new parliamentary year. Dr Alvi was elected as the 13th president of Pakistan on September 4 and sworn in on September 9.
As per the constitution, the president’s address is required at the commencement of the first session of the joint parliament each year. After winning the election, Dr Alvi had told reporters that during his term he would not be a “silent president” and would fulfill all responsibilities towards the development of the country.
His predecessor, Mamnoon Hussain, faced heavy criticism from the media for not being proactive in this role. A dentist by profession, Dr Alvi is a close ally of PM Khan and one of the founding members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
In Pakistan’s parliamentary system, the president plays a largely ceremonial role, though he is both the head of the state and the commander of the country’s military.
In 2010, the parliament passed the 18th amendment to the constitution which transferred significant powers from the president to the prime minister and also removed the president’s power to dismiss the parliament.