–Opp leaders protest over non-issuance of detained MPs’ production orders
–PPP MNA says even military dictator Musharraf’s govt didn’t detain that many lawmakers
ISLAMABAD: The lawmakers attending the National Assembly (NA) on Thursday almost came to blows after NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri – who was presiding the session in the absence of Asad Qaiser —denied Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal permission to speak in the House.
The outraged lawmakers from the treasury and opposition gathered in front of the speaker’s dais and hurled accusations at each other as ruckus marred the remaining proceedings of the House.
It is not surprising that the House had to be prorogued due to commotion, as ever since the incumbent government took reins, the House has witnessed such incident multiple times.
A usual reason for the opposition lawmakers’ protest is the speaker’s refusal to issue production orders for the detained lawmakers and the treasury members’ counter protests.
As the lawmakers protested on Thursday, Suri, strongly responded to the matter, saying: “The House is not for you all to deliver speeches and go home.”
Earlier in the day, Minister for Communications Murad Saeed lashed out at the opposition leaders over their alleged corruption.
“The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is an independent institution and functioning as per its law,” Murad said responding to the protests by the lawmakers against the arrest of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) stalwart Khursheed Shah.
The PTI leader stated that the chairman of the bureau was appointed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in consultation with the PPP.
Distancing his government from the arrests being made in the name of accountability, he said it was the PML-N and PPP that booked cases against each other’s leadership.
The minister said that instead of making hue and cry on the arrest of their leaders, the opposition parties should “raise the voice for the rights of Kashmiris”.
Saeed said that it was the first time that Hindutva face of India has been unmasked by Pakistan at the international level. He said the world today has been supporting Pakistan’s stance on the Kashmir dispute.
OPP MEMBERS PROTEST ‘SHAM ACCOUNTABILITY’:
Earlier, a group of over 50 opposition leaders staged a “symbolic” protest outside the Parliament House on Thursday to protest the non-issuance of production orders for various incarcerated politicians.
The protest, which was held ahead of a National Assembly session, had Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Khawaja Asif, Ayaz Sadiq, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Rana Tanveer, Marriyum Aurangzeb as well as Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmakers Naveed Qamar, Shazia Marri and Shahida Rehmani in attendance.
The protest camp included pictures of arrested leaders, including PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, PML-N leaders Khawaja Saad Rafique and Rana Sanaullah.
Posters calling for the release of former premier Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were also held up.
It may be noted here that the opposition lawmakers had also demanded production orders for the detained lawmakers during President Arif Alvi’s “constitutionally mandated” address to the parliament.
Speaking to the media persons, Asif said that the opposition leaders were protesting because of the approach of National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and the non-issuance of production orders for various leaders. “The rights of assembly members were being denied,” he said.
“Our protest is symbolic,” the former foreign minister said.
“Yesterday [Wednesday] while a National Assembly session was underway, Khursheed Shah was arrested and Qaiser was unaware of this,” Asif lamented.
However, media reports said that National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri had earlier informed the parliament that NAB had taken the House Speaker into confidence over the arrest.
PPP leader Syed Naveed Qamar said that the government has made a record after arresting Khursheed Shah, adding that political leaders were never arrested “in such big numbers even in former president Musharraf’s era”.
Earlier, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb had announced that the protest was being staged to express solidarity with arrested opposition politicians, as well to oppose the “selected” prime minister’s “dictatorial” approach and media restrictions.