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Pakistani President addresses joint parliament session

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Pakistani President addresses joint parliament session

Pakistani President Asif Zardari convened a joint session of parliament in Islamabad today.

This will be President Zardari’s first address since the commencement of the parliamentary calendar year. This address will be a record seventh by a Pakistani president, following Zardari’s first term from 2008-2013.

Despite elections concluding on 8 February, in the term of previous president Arif Alvi, there was no joint address owing to undecided Senate elections. Furthermore, an unannounced boycott from major political parties—Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F)—reduced Alvi’s address to 15, then 12 people as it ended. Zardari is the co-chairperson of the PPP and was a rival of former, now jailed, prime minister Imran Khan.

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Expect this joint session to focus on remedying Pakistan’s polarized parliament after Khan’s conviction earlier in the year. The opposition (Khan’s party) will be looking to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the court ruling. Long-term President Zardari will have to bridge old divides between the PPP and Khan’s allies if meaningful efforts can be made to mending Pakistan’s grim economic outlook. If polarization continues its current trajectory, infighting and impasse will impede the chance for Pakistan to economically develop as it should in 2024.

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