Tuesday Jun 15, 2021
ISLAMABAD: It was pandemonium on Tuesday in the National Assembly as Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif addressed the lower house.
As soon as the PML-N president started speaking, he was greeted by loud jeers, slogans and whistles from the treasury members.
As PTI MNAs surrounded the former Punjab chief minister, PML-N lawmakers and other Opposition members formed a protective circle around him. The jeering and slogans got louder as Sharif took aim at the government.
"Imran Khan Niazi promised 10 million jobs. Where are those jobs?" asked Sharif. "Where are the $300bn that were supposed to be brought back to the country from abroad?"
Continuing to lash out at the government, he said that PM Imran Khan's claims of eliminating corruption from Pakistan were hollow.
"Pakistan is suffering from the worst form of corruption today," he said. "No act of posting or transferring someone these days is done without an element of corruption these days," added Shahbaz.
He criticised the government's budget, saying that it had failed to provide relief to the masses amid spiralling unemployment and inflation.
Speaker Asad Qaiser kept interjecting, requesting lawmakers on the treasury benches to refrain from shouting while the leader of the Opposition spoke.
However, no one listened and the Opposition leader continued, wearing headphones to drown out the noise.
"They accuse us of generating 'useless power'. If that is the case, why are people suffering from loadshedding these days?" asked Shahbaz.
Shahbaz said that during the government of his brother, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan had set up power plants across the country and ended the menace of loadshedding.
He said the country was heading towards economic prosperity then, whereas now, everything was on the decline, even the per capita income.
As Shahbaz spoke, tempers rose when the government and Opposition lawmakers came face-to-face.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Ali Nawaz Awan can be seen in a video clip, responding in kind to abusive language by a PML-N lawmaker.
A woman lawmaker tried to pull the PTI MNA away from the group of legislators who were shoving each other. He can be seen in the video, throwing a booklet at the PML-N leader and shouting angrily at him.
Federal ministers Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Fawad Chaudhry were also seen standing by their seats. Another minister, Ali Amin Gandapur can be seen in another video clip exchanging words with Opposition lawmakers.
After Awan's video went viral, the PTI leader posted a rebuttal on Twitter, sharing a video in which a few PML-N lawmakers can be heard chanting abusive slogans against the government.
"A video clip of mine has gone viral today on social media," tweeted Awan. "However, the other side of the picture can clearly be seen in this video. The PML-N lawmakers started abusing and shoving our MNAs," he added.
Awan said his response was a reaction to the PML-N lawmakers' aggressive behaviour, adding that it "is important to see both sides of the picture".
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted another video clip in which PML-N MNA Ali Gohar Baloch can be seen using derogatory language against the government.
"The fight started because of these [objectionable] slogans issued by Ali Gohar Baloch," he said, adding that the "young lawmakers" of the PTI, as a result, got carried away and hence, budget copies were thrown back and forth between the two sides.
Shahbaz Sharif accuses govt of releasing 'fake' budget numbers
The leader of the Opposition was resuming his speech from the other day, when he had attempted to criticise the budget before the National Assembly turned into a fish market again.
"If the country has seen growth, have only the elite and those residing in the palaces of Bani Gala availed that prosperity?" the Opposition leader had asked, amid ruckus from the treasury benches.
The PML-N president said poor people were "starving to death" in the country. Taking a jibe at the prime minister, Sharif saidthat he wished those, who cited the example of Riyasat-e-Madina, would pay heed to the "dismal state of the widows, orphans and the destitute".
The speaker of the National Assembly, unable to control the commotion in the assembly, had adjourned the session.