Monday Sep 13, 2021
ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi on Monday addressed a joint sitting of parliament, with an empty media gallery and protesting Opposition members inside and outside of the Parliament house.
During his speech, the president acknowledged the efforts of the media for playing their respective roles in curbing the spread of the coronavirus. However, when he looked towards the press gallery, it was empty.
The president was visibly confused as he apparently had no idea why the press gallery was empty. Before the commencement of the joint session, media personnel and journalists had been forbidden from entering the press gallery of the Parliament.
According to a Geo News report, Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) members tried inquiring about the situation but they could not find out as to who had issued the orders to block the press from entering the Parliament.
When Federal Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry was questioned about the move by a reporter, he said he had no idea about it.
"It might be closed because of coronavirus," he told the reporter, and then asked her if journalists had inquired from the speaker's office about the move.
All Opposition and independent members of the two houses boycotted the presidential address after raising their voice for solidarity with the media having sit-in outside the Parliament House to oppose the establishment of the Pakistan Media Development Authority (PMDA) and electronic voting machines.
In response, the Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA) members staged a protest inside gate number 1 of the Parliament House.