Staff Reporter Islamabad
The National Assembly was mired in controversy for a second time in as many days, as parliamentarians confronted each other amid shoving matches and sloganeering.
The opposition staged a protest during the speech of Federal Minister for Power, Petroleum and Natural Resources Omar Ayub Khan. The opposition parties’ members gathered around the rostrum of deputy speaker Qasim Suri and chanted slogans.
The reaction came after Omar Ayub’s remarks alleging previous governments of spreading landmines in the power sector and added that the action against those responsible for electricity theft in Sindh was halted.
The opposition parties staged a protest and chanted slogans over the remarks of the minister.
Ayub reportedly challenged any Opposition member to stand against him in an election, saying that he had gotten elected by beating a PML-N rival candidate by a margin of 40,000 votes.
This did not sit well with the Opposition, who stood up and tore copies of the agenda, shouting slogans of “Go Imran Go” and “Ata mehnga, roti mehngi” while surrounding the speaker’s dais.
A shoving match started between members of the government and treasury benches due to which a few parliamentarians fell on the floor. PPP’s Syed Naveed Qamar took the mic down from the deputy speaker’s dais in protest.
The deputy speaker postponed the session after Opposition and government members started got into scuffles.
Former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf delivered a fiery speech during the National Assembly speech, saying that it was committing fraud by introducing the bill for the open ballot in the Upper House.
Pakistan People’s Party leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that ‘sugar thieves’ want to table an amendment in the constitution despite lacking numbers in the parliament.
Raja Pervaiz claimed that even members of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will not vote for their party and even ministers have taken ‘advance’.
He while requesting Deputy Speaker to remove guards from around his dice, said that opposition is peaceful. The PPP leader also complained of abusive language used against fellow lawmaker Naveed Qamar for lodging a protest.
He said that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had agreed that the government did not have enough numbers to have the amendment passed. “The government members of the parliament do not want to vote for the amendment as they themselves have received money [bribes] against it,” he said. Ashraf told the treasury benches that they should “learn how to speak with manners in the parliament”.
He said that three MNAs from Karachi had attacked PPP’s Syed Naveed Qamar. Ashraf said, without naming anyone, that if they had any manners, the MNAs would apologize to the PPP leader for attacking him.
“I don’t know where these people come from,” he said with disdain, referring to the three MNAs who allegedly attacked Qamar.
He said that the government was introducing the amendment to sully the Opposition’s image, adding that a committee should be formed on the bill which should take suggestions from all members.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar said that opposition leaders were misleading the masses on the Senate amendment bill. “PML-N and the PPP have always accused each other of buying each other’s parliamentarians,” he said.
Umar said that he could not understand why the Opposition parties were creating a hue and cry at the bill. He said that the Opposition, at first, attempted to change the Senate chairman but faced humiliation in the process.
“They stood against us even when the government was passing FATF laws,” he said. “They couldn’t even control their members during the joint session of the parliament.”