Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan Monday said National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had not received any letter from the Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif on constitution of a parliamentary committee to take up electoral reforms in the form of a “complete package”. Talking exclusively to Daily Times, Awan said the opposition was only propagating the letter through the media, which was contrary to facts. “Logically, the letter should be received by the National Assembly speaker or the parliamentary committee. The letter has not been received so far. Whom did they write their letter to? I am surprised,” Awan said. He further said no one in the opposition dared to object when he raised some factual and legal points during the course of proceedings in the house. The demand was made by Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif a day earlier, through a letter which he had written to the speaker on behalf of all the opposition parties in parliament after a meeting of the steering committee of the joint opposition held on Sunday. The meeting of the newly formed steering committee had been convened to review the letter written by the speaker on Nov 11 inviting the opposition parties for talks on the pending legislation, including bills regarding the use of electronic voting machine (EVM) and I-voting for overseas Pakistanis. In his letter, the speaker had suggested to the opposition to activate the Parliamentary Committee on Legislative Business which he had formed to consider 21 bills that had been bulldozed by the government in the National Assembly on June 10 in the absence of the opposition members. However, the opposition parties rejected the speaker’s proposal, saying the committee had been formed “without following the required legislative procedure” and despite holding three meetings, it could not even finalize its terms of reference for its procedural jurisdiction due to a lack of support by the government members. “During this period, all the bills which were to be considered by this committee either lapsed or were rejected by the Senate and referred to the joint sitting of parliament, thus completely negating the purpose for which the Parliamentary Committee on Legislative Business was formed,” writes Sharif in the letter, a copy of which was released to the media by the PML-N’s media office. The speaker had constituted the committee on legislative business following the opposition members’ threat to boycott the budget session of the assembly after the treasury and opposition members disrupted the proceedings of the lower house of parliament when the former did not allow Shehbaz Sharif to deliver his opening speech for three days. “The opposition believes that the issues of national interest, especially legislation with wide-ranging long-term impact on the people of Pakistan, should be resolved through consensus-oriented consultation,” Shehbaz Sharif said. He proposed to the speaker that a parliamentary committee, comprising members from both the houses of parliament, should be formed to consider and approve with consensus a complete package of electoral reforms that should also include the election bills which were passed by the NA but could not sail through the Senate within the constitutionally stipulated 90 days. Shehbaz suggested that the parliamentary committee should be composed on the basis of a similar committee formed by the then speaker Ayaz Sadiq in July 2014 to consider and approve the electoral reforms package. He informed the speaker that the said committee had held 117 meetings and unanimously passed an electoral reforms legislative package on November 10, 2017. The previous committee on electoral reforms was headed by then finance minister Ishaq Dar. The joint opposition has, however, suggested that the Parliamentary Committee on Legislative Business could be allowed to function and it should consider the other bills passed by the National Assembly but not adopted by the Senate and referred to the joint sitting of parliament.