NA still looks like fighting club as both sides refuse to budge

Pakistan National Assembly
NA still looks like fighting club as both sides refuse to budge

SLAMABAD: All hectic but delayed efforts by Speaker Asad Qaiser to bring back normalcy to the National Assembly proved futile, as legislators on both sides of the aisle continued their noisy protest in the house when the treasury members again interrupted the budget speech of leader of the opposition Shehbaz Sharif through sloganeering for a third consecutive day.

The speal(er, who had come to the house after meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and banning the entry of seven unruly members including three from the ruling Pakistan Tehreelei-Insaf (PTI), later announced that he would notrun the house till the time an understanding was reached between the government and the opposition over a strategy for the ongoing budget session asking each side to nominate six representatives for their inclusion in a parliamentary committee for the purpose.

However, the speaker`s actions of banning the lawmakers` entry, separate phone calls to Mr Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and his offer to form a parliamentary committee for further action against troublemakers could not pacify the angry opposition, which decided not to hold any talks with the government and announced moving a no-confidence motion against him.

The opposition had already moved a no-confidence motion against NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri for allegedly bulldozing legislation in the house last week.

Sources said the voting on the no-trust motion against the deputy speaker would be held on Friday (tomorrow).

The speaker had to suspend the proceedings when Mr Sharif, protected by the sergeants-at-arms mal(ing a human wall between the two sides, had spol(en only for five minutes or so after an unidentified opposition member from the backbenches threw a sanitiser bottle at the treasury benches that hit PTI MNA from Karachi Akram Cheema.

`Who has hit him? Expel him from the house. Please note down (the name). I can`t run the house this way. Mian Sahib this is not the way, Speaker Qaisersaid before suspending the house for 15 minutes.

Later, the speaker came to the house and adjourned the sitting till Thursday noon.

Before announcing the adjournment, the chair said the opposition had so far not nominated any of its members for inclusion in a parliamentary committee to ensure smooth conduct of the proceedings during the budget session.

Earlier, the session resumed nearly two hours behind the schedule mainly due to the hectic activities and political engagements outside the assembly that had witnessed unprecedented scenes on Tuesday when the members had come to the blows, used abusive language and attacked each other with books and budgetary documents, causing injury to some members and security personnel.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has convened a meeting of the parliamentary party on Thursday (today) to discuss the strategy for the budget session and vote of no confidence against the deputy speaker.