Speaker turns down Opposition privilege motions on Panamagate; Khursheed Shah asks PM to apologise to nation
The National Assembly (NA) session was ruled by chaos with the return of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to parliament as the Speaker NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq rejected the opposition’s privilege motions on Panamagate, saying the matter is subjudice.
Members of opposition were witnessed ripping up copies of the session’s agenda and the privilege motions as both PML-N and opposition lawmakers yelled slogans accusing each others’ leaders of corruption. Angry MNAs throw sheets of paper in the air in protest.
It should be mentioned that the PTI and PPP submitted privilege motions in the NA claiming that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had misguided lawmakers in a speech regarding his assets delivered earlier this year.
The NA speaker clarified his decision to reject the motions, saying the matter is subjudice.
“The matter is subjudice. It cannot be allowed to be taken up in the Parliament for now,” he said.
The Speaker said, “We have only allowed the opposition leader to speak on point of order. The privilege motion has been rejected.”
Having failed to win a verdict from the Supreme Court against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over the Panamagate case last week, PTI on Tuesday decided to end its boycott of the NA and return to parliament. The SC last week deferred the hearing of the case till the first week of January.
Speaking on point of order during the NA Session, Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah said that Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif had said that his speech in the House was a political statement.
The speaker stopped him when he tried to speak on Panama Leaks and said that it cannot be discussed as the matter was already is being heard in the Supreme Court.
Khursheed Shah then said that the Parliament is a sacred place more than the court. He said that they are lies which destroy nations and not atom bombs.
During his speech, PPP and PTI members chanted slogans of ‘shame, shame’ whereas PML-N members also hooted.
Pandemonium broke out in the PTI benches when the NA speaker opened the floor to the PML-N’s Saad Rafique on a point of order following PPP leader Khursheed Shah’s speech instead of allowing PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi to speak.
Amid chants of ‘thief, thief’, Rafique lashed out at the members of opposition clustered before the speaker’s bench who were throwing papers in the air, and accused PTI lawmakers of ‘only wanting to fight’.
“The PTI is scheming against democracy,” he said. “PTI workers are hooligans, that’s all they do in politics… They are only attending the session so they can collect their salaries,” he claimed.
He alleged the PM’s counsel had stated in the Supreme Court during the ongoing Panamagate hearings that politicians deliver political speeches which should not be mistaken as legal statements.
“If you had come forward and apologized, the public would have forgiven you,” Shah said, apparently addressing the prime minister. “But at least come forward and admit to your wrongdoings,” he said.
During Shah’s speech, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq interrupted several times and directed the senior PPP leader to avoid speaking of matters that are subjudice.
In response, Shah, to loud applause, claimed that the parliament is superior to the judiciary as the house carries the mandate of 200 million people.
“It is irritating when we hear the incoming chief justice is the PML-N’s own man. Perhaps you PML-N do not say this, but the people do,” Shah claimed.
PTI leader Shireen Mazari also protested the decision of rejecting the privilege motion of her party.
“Gale Gali Mein Choor Hai, Nawaz Sharif Choor hai,” chanted the opposition members of the lower house.
Speaking on this occasion, Federal Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique condemned the PTI.
“What kind of democracy is it? The opposition leader has spoken for 45 minutes while I am not being allowed to speak,” he said.
Later, treasury benches came up with their only slogan chanting slogans against Imran Khan.
After, Khursheed Shah’s speech, the speaker allowed Khwaja Sad Rafiq to speak but PTI members protested on it and soon the house became a place of much noise and uproar. Then the speaker announced a 15-minute break after which Saad Rafiq spoke and strongly criticized Imran Khan and his party’s attitude.
Upon this, the opposition leader advised Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to prorogue the session, which the latter agreed with and adjourned the session until 4 pm on Thursday evening.—INP