Shehbaz again unable to finish his speech in NA

Speakers adjourns proceedings till today as unruly lawmakers continue to protest


Our Correspondent June 16, 2021
Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly addressing a session in National Assembly on June 15, 2021. PHOTO: TWITTTER/@NAofPakistan

ISLAMABAD:

The National Assembly proceedings on Wednesday were adjourned minutes after they started as the chaos continued in the house for the third straight day forcing leader of the opposition Shehbaz Sharif to cut his budget speech short yet again.

Shehbaz, the PML-N president, tried to finish his speech in the presence of sergeants but the treasury members did not allow him to do so as they resorted to sloganeering.

NA Speaker Asad Qaiser kept asking the lawmakers to remain seated, but eventually adjourned the session.

As soon as the proceedings started, the speaker condemned the unruly behaviour witnessed during Tuesdays’ proceedings and called for a temporary adjournment so that a 12-member parliamentary reconciliation committee could meet.

Read more: NA speaker bans seven lawmakers for 'disorderly' behaviour

However, tensions between the government and the opposition escalated during this period.

Separate consultative meetings were held in the speaker's chamber and the opposition lobbies.

A government delegation met the opposition leader but to no avail.

As the proceedings resumed, Shehbaz held Prime Minister Imran Khan responsible for the chaos in the house a day earlier. This compelled the treasury members to resort to making noise again.

The proceedings were adjourned for 15 minutes. However, when they resumed, there was rumpus in the house again, compelling the speaker to adjourn them till Thursday (today).

"I will not conduct this House until both the government and the opposition [settle their matters]," he said before walking out.

During his speech, Shehbaz condemned the chaos in the National Assembly a day earlier and said it was the speaker’s duty to maintain the sanctity of the house and run it in accordance with the law.

“If the opposition's speeches are peacefully listened to then we would reciprocate and listen to the leader of the house's speech," he said.

Read: Public disbelief as NA descends into rumpus

"I am saddened by your [speaker’s] helplessness," he said, alleging that the behaviour of treasury members had been sanctioned by Prime Minister Imran Khan himself.

Writing about the incident, Federal Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar claimed in a tweet that the opposition had "attacked" within minutes of the start of the proceedings.

He added that PTI lawmaker Muhammad Akram Cheema was also injured by a bottle thrown at him.

"Worried by the economic improvement and popular budget, the opposition wants to run away from discussion on the budget in the house by engaging in confrontation."

It was reported that the decision to give the opposition a tough time during Tuesday’s proceedings was taken during the meeting of the federal cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, as confirmed by the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in the post-cabinet meeting press briefing.

“There will be tit for tat,” Chaudhry told the briefing, held minutes before the NA session.

He added that the cabinet discussed the matter and decided that the opposition would only be allowed to speak in the house if they agreed to listen to what the government benches had to say.

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