ISLAMABAD: A verbal spat between Federal Maritime Affairs Minister Syed Ali Haider Zaidi and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Syed Naveed Qamar heated the National Assembly session on Tuesday.
The issue arose after Zaidi said that he is up for being held accountable if proven corrupt. He was responding to PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari who had accused Zaidi of embezzlement within the Ministry of Maritime Affairs.
“You can embarrass me before the people and cut my connections with PM Imran Khan, if you prove my involvement in corruption of even a single rupee,” Zaidi said while taking the floor of the National Assembly.
He claimed that Bilawal had declared his assets worth Rs1.5 billion before the Election Commission of Pakistan. “Bilawal’s assets are in millions but he pays only a few lakh rupees in taxes?” asked the PTI minister.
“Pakistan saw its first major terrorism case in 1981 when the PPP was in power. Uzair Baloch, a person who has confessed to killing 58 people, also belongs to the PPP,” he alleged.
He also accused PPP stalwart Naveed Qamar and former president Asif Ali Zardari of “sheltering terrorist groups in Lyari”. It is the JIT report (in the Uzair Baloch case) that tells you about Zardari heading terrorist groups, he remarked.
NA Speaker Asad Qaiser then turned Zaidi’s microphone off, citing a shortage of time. When he allowed Qamar to take the floor, a verbal spat started between him and Zaidi.
“If you want to fight right now then let’s be done with it,” Qamar said as he left his seat, took off his blazer and moved towards Zaidi before fellow MNAs stopped him and cooled things down.
Later, when PPP leader Abdul Qadir Patel addressed the Parliament, he recalled Federal Minister Murad Saeed’s challenge to Bilawal for a live debate. “Not only for live debate, but I’m also ready to contest elections against [Saeed] if he chooses t step down from his seat [in the National Assembly],” Patel said.