PESHAWAR: Imran Khan’s comments regarding the dissolution of the house came under heavy criticism by opposition lawmakers who staged a walkout from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Assembly on Wednesday, only to be wooed back in.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) lawmaker from Lakki Marwat, Munawar Khan, on a point of order, said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has threatened to dissolve the provincial assembly and questioned whether the house was Imran’s personal estate. He asked whether the provincial assembly’s raison d’être was so the PTI chief could use it as a political tool for his opponents, threatening to dissolve it every now and then.
Imran Khan said during an interview on Tuesday that he could dissolve the K-P Assembly and join hands with Dr Tahirul Qadri if the government denied his party justice.
The JUI-F lawmaker said the opposition will leave the house and not return until the provincial government assures them that no such statement will be made again.
Following the statement, opposition members walked out one after the other, leaving opposition leader Maulana Lutfur Rehman confused as he was reportedly not consulted before about the decision. Thus, Rehman was the last opposition lawmaker to exit the house, albeit hesitantly.
Following the walkout, opposition lawmakers returned to the house after being wooed by Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Atif Khan. Speaker Asad Qaiser then gave the floor to the opposition leader who, in his speech, said the PTI chief’s remarks were aimed at derailing democracy.
“This is an undemocratic and non-political attitude and could derail the democratic system,” said Rehman, adding linking the demand for thumb verification in four National Assembly constituencies with the K-P Assembly is extra-constitutional and undemocratic.
Pakistan Peoples Party MPA Nighat Orakzai said the PTI chief was a grown up man and should behave as such.
When former health minister Shaukat Yousafzai began commenting on the issue, his attempts to interpret Imran Khan’s ‘true’ meaning infuriated opposition lawmakers who made a hue and cry, drowning his voice in the ensuing ruckus. Yousfazi thundered in return, however, his voice was drowned from the unified bellowing from the opposition benches.
Later, when the speaker gave the floor to the education minister, he claimed that Imran Khan’s stance had been misinterpreted. Atif Khan said the PTI chief had said something else in the television programme and what was printed in newspapers the next day was completely different. He assured opposition lawmakers that the government will talk to the PTI chief on the issue and said they will not allow any harm to come to democracy.
Khattak lays out govt’s achievements
Chief Minister (CM) Pervez Khattak also addressed the house following the winding up of the budget session and defended his government’s success and policies of the past year. He asked opposition lawmakers to come up with workable suggestions for improvements.
Khattak termed law and order, price hike, unemployment and internally displaced persons (IDP) the province’s biggest challenges and said the provincial government will take care of IDPs and treat them as guests of the province.
He said the government is providing Rs5,000 Ramazan package and Rs3,000 as house rent for the “guests” while hospitals have also been opened up for them.
Talking about the expected price-hike in Ramazan, Khattak said the government has dissolved the present price committees in Peshawar and new ones were being formed to control prices in Peshawar and other areas.
The CM said the provincial and federal governments will sign an agreement this month enabling K-P to divert excess gas to industries and also use it for generating 300 megawatts of electricity for the industrial sector. He said the government is planning to set up industries in Kohat, Karak and Hangu.
Khattak revealed that the government was going to establish around 176 sports stadiums across the province within two to three years.
The assembly also passed another 52 demands for grants worth Rs29 billion of the supplementary budget after speaker guillotined the normal procedure, scrapping members’ cut motions. The session was later prorogued for an indefinite period.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2014.
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