Islamabad, Apr 9 : An embattled Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has decided to avoid addressing a joint session of the Pakistan Parliament by opting to head off to China for six days from Thursday.
Ironically, the joint session is traditionally mandatory after the formation of a new government and the President traditionally addresses it, but in this instance, Musharraf has acted on the ruling coalition government's advice and only summoned the National Assembly.
The Constitution requires the President to address a joint session of the National Assembly and the Senate before the first session of the lower house after a general election or at the start of the parliamentary year.
The PPP-led coalition comprising Musharraf's opponents came to power after his ally, the PML (Q) was routed in the February 18 election.
Musharraf, who many feel is being politically sidelined by the new dispensation, has apparently decided to keep a distance from the Parliament by not convening a joint session.
Under the previous government, Musharraf had addressed parliament once during its five-year term.