Protest again mars NA budget session

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Staff report

ISLAMABAD

The protest from lawmakers on Monday once again marred the proceedings of the National Assembly (NA) session called for general debate on the federal budget presented by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) government

The session was called to discuss the federal budget presented by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for the next fiscal year but owing to the hostile political climate of the country, the discussion soon became diverted to the issue of lawmakers who are currently under custody in various cases.

As the session started, the Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif demanded NA speaker to issue the production orders of former president Asif Ali Zardari and other detained opposition lawmakers.

Shehbaz said that Zardari is an elected representative and it is his right to be present in the House for discussion on the budget so that he can relay the grievances of the people of his constituency. His demand triggered protests from the treasury benches and the speaker asked him to finish his speech. Shehbaz, however, remained persistent in his demand, reiterating that it would not be fair to conduct the session in the absence of detained lawmakers.

Shehbaz in his short speech also claimed that Prime Minister Imran Khan in his midnight address to the nation had threatened opposition.

Later, former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf also reiterated Shehbaz’s demand, saying that it was obligatory on the speaker to issue Zardari’s production orders and if he does not do so, he would not remain impartial in his role.

Amid all the chaos in the House, the speaker adjourned the session till today at 10am.

Similar scenes were witnessed in the house on Friday as well when treasury members interrupted Sharif’s speech by constantly creating disturbances. Later, Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry had admitted that it was a planned move by the treasury benches to prevent Mr Sharif from delivering his speech to give a befitting reply to the opposition that had created a ruckus in the house at the time of the presentation of the budget.