Govt, opposition continue to trade barbs in NA

Abbasi, Murad trade accusations over holding Parliament hostage to irrelevant issues


News Desk February 22, 2019
National Assembly of Pakistan. PHOTO: APP

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The war of words between the opposition and the government continued on the second day of the National Assembly session as the incumbent set-up led by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was accused of "holding the Parliament hostage".

Former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addressed the Lower House – with a gas bill in hand –  and lashed out at the PTI for alleged incompetence and blamed the treasury benches of holding the Parliament hostage. "The house has not seen any substantial debate despite the passage of six months. No laws have been passed, no resolutions tabled."

"The masses are suffering due to the government's decision. I have run the petroleum ministry before, I can settle the issue for the government - send two officials, I will help them fix this," said the PML-N leader while referring to the recent increase in natural gas tariffs and asserted that the rise in tariffs was unnecessary.

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"We waste time on irrelevant discussions in this August House," he said. Addressing the speaker's chair, he further urged for the Parliament to play its role. He stressed that the opposition was ready to work at nights and on weekends. "We want the Parliament to work."

He also requested the speaker to issue production orders for Khawaja Saad Rafique. As Abbasi ended his speech, the opposition began tearing up gas bills in protest.

Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri gave the floor to Federal Minister for Postal Services Murad Saeed to speak as the opposition continued to stage a protest, holding placards in front of the speaker's chair.

Annoyed by the furor, Murad countered the argument by recalling that it is opposition holding the NA hostage. "First they wanted Shehbaz Sharif as Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman. Now they are asking for Rafique's production orders."

Referring to the Kulbhushan Jadhav case's public hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Murad said it was shameful that former premier Nawaz Sharif's interview was being quoted by the Indian side in their defence.

The opposition then staged a walkout.

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