Senior PML-N leader Ishaq Dar, who has been nominated as the finance minister by the party, on Tuesday was sworn in as a senator amid the hue and cry raised by the opposition.
Dar, who returned to Pakistan earlier in the day after spending almost five years in the UK on a ‘medical leave’, was administered oath of his office by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.
The PML-N leader had left the country in 2017 while standing trial in a corruption reference.
As he entered the Senate hall, PML-N leaders welcomed him by thumping their desks.
However, while he was being administered his oath of office, PTI senators shouted slogans including “absconder” and surrounded the chairman’s rostrum.
Some of them were even carrying placards and posters.
The Senate chairman repeatedly asked them to return to their seats.
He was compelled to call in security to handle the situation.
Speaking on the occasion, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar said the PML-N welcomed Dar as a senator and the party expected him to address the country’s economic woes like he had done in the past.
Addressing the opposition members, he said the PML-N had always upheld the sanctity of the upper house of parliament and would expect them to do the same.
The minister told them that opposing the move was their right and advised them to use their microphones if they wished to do that instead of creating chaos in the House.
Opposition leader in the House, PTI’s Shahzad Waseem, in his speech said a person fled the country for four years and his Senate seat had remained vacant during this period.
He added that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was also informed about this issue but the seat was not declared vacant.
Referring to PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, he maintained that one premier helped the ‘absconder’ in fleeing the country while another one, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, had brought him back.
He added that all this was being carried out to protect one family.
Shahzad argued that according to his information, Dar had not surrendered before the court.
He added that the newly elected senator had returned in a plane on the taxpayers’ expense.
The law minister responded that in Dar’s case, the court had adjourned proceedings till October 7. “You can criticise as much as you want but don’t twist the facts,” he added.
The treasury benches made a lot of noise while the opposition leader was speaking.
There were several people present in the House during Dar’s oath-taking ceremony including Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique, JUI-F’s Maulana Asad Mehmood and Senator Sherry Rehman.
PML-N leader and PM’s aide Attaullah Tarar was also present in the guests gallery.
Speaking to the media earlier, Dar said the rupee’s value had been artificially depreciated and that was a major challenge.
He added that the prices of essential commodities had hit the roof and Utility Stores too were an uphill task.
He maintained that ever since they returned at night, the local currency had gained Rs10 against the US dollar and the nation had been unburdened by a debt of Rs1350 billion.
He added that PTI chairman and deposed premier Imran Khan should wait and see which one of them would create hurdles for the other.
To a query about his ties with army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Dar said the latter should better be asked about it.
Dar is expected to be sworn in as the finance minister on Wednesday (today).
Before taking the oath, Dar, accompanied by federal ministers, met the Senate chairman at his chamber.
As Dar entered the Senate chamber, the law minister presented him a bouquet of flowers.
Dar arrived at the Nur Khan Airbase in Rawalpindi on Monday night alongside PM Shehbaz.
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