National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri adjourned on Tuesday the National Assembly sitting for 20 minutes after members of treasury created chaos on the floor once again.
The MNAs continued to protest and make noise as Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif tried to speak. This is the third time his speech was interrupted by noise and protests by the treasury in the ongoing session during which the Lower House is supposed to debate over the proposed budget.
Suri told protesting MNAs to “resolve their issues” before the sitting resumes. Today’s sitting was supposed to start at 4pm but started late for unknown reasons.
The budget was announced by Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar last week. Since then, two sittings have been held and all have been adjourned without any debate due to noisy protests. Today is the fourth sitting of the ongoing session.
Protests and meetings continue
PPP lawmakers protested outside the office of National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser for a second day over the non-issuance of production orders for Asif Ali Zardari, who is currently under the custody of the National Accountability Bureau.. At the time of the protest, neither Qaiser nor Suri were present in their chambers.
Speaking to journalists outside the speaker’s office, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman accused the government of “paralysing its own parliamentary system”. She said that as member of parliament, it was Zardari’s right to attend the budget session and cast his vote.
Meanwhile, PPP leader Khursheed Shah met Sharif in the opposition leader’s chambers in the parliament and held discussions over opposition’s strategy for the ongoing budget session.
The meeting was also attended by PML-N leaders Rana Sanaullah, Ayaz Sadiq, Rana Tanveer, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Khawaja Asif and Raja Zafarul Haq . PML-N leaders also expressed concern over the non-issuance of production orders for Zardari.
Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) President Sardar Akhtar Mengal, a government ally, visited the residence of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl’s chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Speaking to the media after their meeting, Rehman said that he hoped that an All Parties Conference (APC) will be held next week and added that Mengal had given a “positive response” when asked to attend it. A final decision by BNP-M is yet to be announced.
When asked whether he would oppose or support the budget proposed by the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Mengal said: “Many budgets came and went but they didn’t change the situation of the country or the people. Until all political parties come up with a national agenda that supports democratic rule and also discusses how to provide relief to the class that is burdened by the budget, the weight of the politicians and the injustices committed by rulers.”