Monday Jun 21, 2021
QUETTA: Following the violent episode that occurred outside of the Balochistan Assembly on Friday, Opposition members on Monday went to the police station and surrendered before the police.
Sixteen members of the Balochistan Assembly, along with the Leader of the Opposition in the Provincial Assembly Malik Sikandar, went to Quetta's Bijli Road Police Station for their arrests.
Meanwhile, MPA Abdul Waheed Siddiqui, who was injured during the violent incident, will go to Karachi for treatment, Sikandar said.
A day ago, the Opposition members, under Sikandar's chairmanship, had held a meeting where it was decided that all the members who had been named in the first information report (FIR) would show up at the police station together for their arrests.
Police had booked 17 Balochistan Assembly members for creating chaos during the budget session on Friday. All members who have been booked in the incident belonged to Opposition parties.
As per sources, police were unable to name the chief minister and police officers in the FIR on the applications of the Opposition members. The FIR includes clauses of meddling in the state matters, violating coronavirus standard operating procedures (SOPs) and attacking police personnel.
On Friday, chaotic scenes erupted outside Balochistan Assembly as scores of protestors and Opposition lawmakers and supporters holding a protest outside the assembly were baton-charged by police.
Police said Opposition lawmakers had locked all four doors of the Balochistan Assembly to prevent the budget session from taking place.
Chief Minister Balochistan Jam Kamal Khan and a few lawmakers arrived at the assembly.
The budget session commenced under the chair of Speaker Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo. Opposition MPA Nasrullah Zehray accused the police of using violent methods to disperse the "peaceful protest" outside the assembly.
Sana Baloch, another MPA, lashed out at the government, saying that the province was at its worst state since its inception.
He said lawmakers Abdul Wahid Siddiqui and Babar Rahim Mengal had been injured by the police's armoured vehicle.
Balochistan Finance Minister Mir Zahoor Ahmad Buledi presented the budget during the session.
Earlier, the Opposition's protest and clashes intensified, as per reports, when the chief minister arrived at the assembly.
Speaking to Geo News, Balochistan Information Minister Liaquat Shahwani said the clashes had proven how "ill-disciplined and non-serious" the Opposition was.
"Assembly is a prestigious institution and they have attacked it. The same assembly whose members these people themselves are," he said, attacking Opposition MPAs.
"They are doing this by design and deliberation," he said. "They have proven they do not follow any democratic values and to protect their personal interests, they [Opposition] are ready to go to any length."
Shahwani said if the Opposition was serious, it would have properly gone through the budget and recommended its suggestions.
"Have you heard their proposals or demands?" he asked. "This is the best budget in Pakistan's history and will be presented today," he added.
He rejected reports that the Balochistan chief minister had been hit by a flower pot, adding that the Opposition supporters' act of hurling objects was "shameful".
"After this, they will not be able to even take the name of democracy ever again," he added.
Supporters of Opposition parties have blocked national highways in several cities of Balochistan days before the budget was presented. The Opposition accused the government of ignoring development projects in the budget.
Opposition lawmakers had warned they would not let the provincial government present the budget.
Leaders of the Opposition parties, according to Dawn, said they would not allow any MPA to enter the assembly on Friday if their proposed development projects were not included in the provincial Annual Development Programme (ADP).