Hullabaloo, vulgarities spoil NA budget session

national assembly
Hullabaloo, vulgarities spoil NA budget session

UT Desk- ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly turned into a battleground as the opposition and treasury members fought with each other using budget documents and books as rockets and noisy protests disrupted the budget speech of the opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif for the second consecutive day.

Speaker Asad Qaiser suspended the proceedings of the house three times when the treasury members, led by some of the senior ministers who had come directly to the house after attending the weekly cabinet meeting, refused to pay any heed to his directives to stay calm and kept on sloganeering, whistling and desk-thumping as Shehbaz Sharif, who had been surrounded by his party members to avoid any physical contact with the treasury MNAs, also continued his speech.

The speaker announced first suspension of the proceedings for 40 minutes when Ali Nawaz Awan, who is also special assistant to the prime minister, threw a book towards the opposition benches, which came back to him.

The proceedings of the house resumed after over two dozen sergeants-at-arms made a human wall separating the treasury and opposition members and bifurcating the assembly hall into two camps. It was an unprecedented scene, indeed, even for those who have been covering the parliamentary proceedings for decades.

As soon as Shehbaz Sharif took the floor and started lashing out at the government for its economic policies, the treasury members again stood up and started whistling, desk-thumping and chanting slogans like chor, chor (thief, thief), daku, daku (robber, robber) and `T T, T T`, a reference to the term `telegraphic transfer` often used for money laundering in the country.

When an undeterred Sharif continued his speech, some of the treasury members were seen advancing towards the opposition benches, but they were prevented from doing so by the security staff. At this stage, the treasury members started throwing the books and documents at the opposition members, who also responded in the same coin. Some of the members, including Ali Nawaz Awan, were seen and heard using abusive and filthy language. Many members from both sides raised slogans while standing on their chairs.

The opposition members sitting on back benches also responded to the treasury members with slogans like lathi goli ki sarkar nahi chale gi, go Niazi go, aata chor, cheeni chor and gali main shor hai, Aleema Baji chor hai. Aleema Khan is the sister of Prime Minister Imran Khan and the opposition alleges that she had not declared her assets and their money trail.

Parliamentary Secretary for Law Maleeka Bokhari was hit by a flying object and received injury to her eye.

She later received first aid at the Parliament House dispensary.

Besides Ms Bokhari, some MNAs also complained that they had received bruises during the scuffle.

However, the sandwiched sergeants-at-arms faced the brunt of the fight between the treasury and opposition members as they were hit by the books and flying objects.