Shehbaz, ministers fire salvos at each other in NA

PML-N president says PTI ‘drowned country’s economy under debts’


News Desk September 21, 2021
Shehbaz Sharif. PHOTO: Shehbaz Sharif Facebook page

The leader of the opposition in the lower house of parliament and treasury members on Tuesday lashed out at each other during the National Assembly session.

PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif fired a broadside at the PTI-led government, saying that the ruling party had drowned the country’s economy under debts while the inflation was increasing at an “unprecedented level”.

“Five million people have been rendered unemployed... it has become impossible for the poor to afford two square meals a day,” the former Punjab chief minister said while addressing the House.

Referring to the ruling PTI’s pre-election promises, Shehbaz said those, who had pledged to give 10 million jobs, had made the lives of the people miserable.

“The price of electricity and petrol have skyrocketed ... the finance minister would say the government would not impose taxes on fuel,” the PML-N president said, adding that the incumbent government during its three-year tenure had not built a project worth a “single penny”.

Responding to his tirade, Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said Shehbaz had vowed to drag PPP leader Asif Zardari on the streets and bring back the country’s looted wealth. “His [Shehbaz’s] own brother [Nawaz Sharif] plundered the country and fled,” she added.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said the PML-N supreme leader, who has been in London since 2019, should return to the country and surrender before the courts.

He added that Prime Minister Imran Khan had provided complete evidence to the country’s apex court and was declared ‘Sadiq and Ameen (honest and righteous).

In his concluding remarks, Shehbaz said he did not want to initiate a “long debate” but former premier Nawaz was convicted on the basis of Iqama (residency permit), not the Panama scandal.

At the onset of the proceedings presided over by chairman of the panel Amjad Khan Niazi, PPP central leader Shazia Marri said she wanted to introduce a consensus motion for 16,000 employees.

Last month, the Supreme Court had declared illegal and unconstitutional a PPP-era law called Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act 2010 under which several people were employed or promoted.

The minister of state for parliamentary affairs responded that the government had moved a review petition with the court for this purpose and was trying to ensure that all employees remain reinstated.

Read Inflation, administrative issues cost PTI in cantonment polls: Sarwar

Former premier Raja Pervez Ashraf of the PPP said Marri should be allowed to present the motion. “It is the prerogative of the members,” he added

PML-N’s Khawaja Asif said most of the affected employees were nearing retirement and the government should make a settlement with them.

Federal Minister Mazari said Asif should be ashamed of talking about the rehabilitation of the employees, who were fired by the government of his party.

Shehbaz replied that what the federal minister had said was “reprehensible” and the party would not tolerate it.

“Employees were sacked from the PIA and the Pakistan Steel Mills [during the PTI government’s tenure]. Did we do that?”

Five private members' bills were introduced and referred to the relevant committees for further consideration.

They included the Islamabad Capital Territory Prevention of Beggary Bill, 2021; Contractors Registration Bill, 2021; Supreme Court (Number of Judges) (Amendment) Bill, 2021; Zainab Alerts, Response and Recovery (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and Benazir Income Support Programme (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Four bills on the agenda were deferred which included the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021; National Commission for Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2021; Memon University Bill, 2021 and Microfinance Institutions (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2021 (Amendment in Article- 168) was not considered due to absence of mover.

The House passed a motion for the consideration of the Islamabad Rent Restriction (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in the joint sitting of Parliament.

Another motion for the consideration of the Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill, 2020 was deferred due to the absence of the mover.

The House did not consider eight private members' bills, five motions under Rule 259, four resolutions, three reports of standing committees and two amendments in the rules of procedure and conduct of business in National Assembly, 2007.

PPP’s Qadir Patel pointed out the lack of quorum in the House and the session was adjourned ill Wednesday (today).

(With input from APP)

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