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Wednesday Dec 14, 2016

Stormy NA session adjourned amid chaos


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members of the National Assembly Wednesday disrupted an already heated session of the House, making it impossible for proceedings to continue and forcing the speaker to adjourn the session until Thursday evening.

A stormy NA session was in progress on Wednesday evening with lawmakers from treasury and opposition delivering fiery speeches on the Panama scandal, which has been haunting the Nawaz government for months now.

The opposition members began making noise as soon as the speaker allowed Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique to speak to the House, after the address of Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah.

The commotion reached its peaks as PTI members of the assembly gathered before the Speaker's dais and tore copies of the agenda apart. They vehemently chanted slogans against the government, effectively making it impossible for proceedings to continue.

The speaker announced 15 minutes break, but after the session resumed they again gathered before him. Upon this, the opposition leader advised Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to adjourn the session, which the latter agreed with. Proceedings of the National Assembly will resume at 4 PM Thursday.

Rafique slams Imran's 'gang' for disrupting NA session

Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, speaking at a news conference after the session, said that Imran Khan’s ‘gang’ on purpose disrupted the session by surrounding the speaker's dais. He said that whatever happened was sad and the entire nation witnessed it.

Rafique said that government was ready to discuss Panama Papers issue in the Parliament if demanded by the opposition.

“There is no contradiction in the statement given by the Prime Minister on the floor of the House and that given in the Supreme Court”, he maintained.

'Parliament superior to judiciary,' says Shah

Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah, in his address recounted that Parliament had come under attack in 2014, but the whole opposition stood unified in its defence. "We were openly criticised for that and labeled as 'friendly opposition'".

"We safeguarded this House and when the prime minister comes to the same House, he reads out a written statement," the opposition leader said, adding that we saw prisons, hardships for safeguarding the Parliament.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq interrupted the opposition leader for mentioning a privilege motion on Panama Leaks, saying it was sub judice with the apex court, he said, "Parliament is the most supreme institution, even superior to the judiciary, for it represents the will of the people."

Shah said the prime minister came to explain the money trail before the Parliament and it was later termed a 'political statement', but his party did not over-react.

"Is politics name of lying?" he questioned, adding, "No! it means service to the people".

PTI to present its stance in Parliament on Thursday: Qureshi

Speaking to media after the session was adjourned, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his party will attend the Parliament’s session tomorrow and present its stance.

“Is this an independent Parliament or an advisory council?” said Qureshi, referring to the ruckus in today’s session. He added that if joint opposition makes a demand then the government has to respond to it.

PTI ends boycott of Parliament

Earlier, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ended its boycott of the Parliament and attended the session on Wednesday. 

Speaking to the media ahead of the session, Qureshi said his party wants to uncover “the lies Prime Minister told the Parliament.”

“There is discrepancy in what the Prime Minister said in the Parliament and in his replies to the Supreme Court. We want clarification on this,” Qureshi said.

He said that the privilege of members of the Parliament had been adversely affected due to this.

The PTI leader called for suspending the agenda of Parliament and privilege motion to be brought under discussion.

Qureshi said 2017 would be the year of elections and his party is preparing for it. A parliamentary board would be established which would scrutinise names of intending candidates.