ISLAMABAD: Amid an intense protest by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) lawmakers, the National Assembly on Thursday passed resolutions supporting the formation of a south Punjab province and reposing confidence in Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Later during the day, the Upper House (Senate) also unanimously passed the resolution reflecting firm confidence in Gilani.
The resolution, expressing solidarity with the premier, was moved by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Jahangir Badar in the absence of PML-N members.
The National Assembly session, which was marred by sloganeering by PML-N members, was scheduled to begin at 10:30am but began at 12:22pm.
The resolutions were moved by Law Minister Farooq H Naek and were passed by the assembly. It has been reported that all members besides those from the PML-N voted in favour of the resolutions.
PML-N MNAs arrived in the assembly with placards and wearing black armbands to protest against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s refusal to step down after he was convicted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. One of the placards read “Seat khali hay, barayee farokht”.
Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar sat silently in the tenth row and did not take part in the protest.
The session was adjourned after the resolutions had been passed. The National Assembly session will resume at 10:00am on Friday.
Nisar, speaking to the media after the session, said that the speaker should preside over the session in a transparent manner.
He said last Friday, the speaker had let the prime minister quietly arrive and give a speech while PML-N members were away, and this time an important issue had been taken up without informing the members of the house.
Nisar questioned how the speaker had established that MNAs had voted in favour of the resolution, stating that it had been too noisy inside the House.
He said that PML-N was in favour of more provinces and had also announced support for a Bahawalpur province.
The PML-N has repeatedly called for Gilani to step down as prime minister since the Supreme Court of Pakistan convicted him in a contempt of court case after he refused to write a letter to Swiss authorities, asking that cases against President Asif Ali Zardari be reopened.
The largest opposition party – PML-N – has already announced it would continue to force the ruling PPP to nominate a new prime minister.