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ISLAMABAD: The government faced embarrassment in the National Assembly for a second consecutive day on Thursday when it failed to carry out regular business due to the lack of quorum as a large number of treasury members, including ministers, remained absent because of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s homeward rally.

Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, soon after the question hour, suspended the proceedings for about 40 minutes when Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Amjid Ali Khan pointed out the lack of quorum. Later, he adjourned the house till Aug 17 on the government’s failure to ensure the presence of the required 86 members out of the total 342 members.

The arrival of former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the Assembly Hall, after the suspension of proceedings by the deputy speaker, was the only event worth reporting in the day.

Chaudhry Nisar’s absence from Nawaz Sharif’s rally from Islamabad to Lahore has been a topic of discussion in political circles. He was seen interacting with the few legislators present in the house.

The former minister slipped out of the Parliament House as soon as the reporters present in the gallery tried to seek his comments about the reported differences between him and the party leadership.

At the start of the proceedings, members of all political parties paid tribute to four security personnel, including an army major, who were martyred in a Dir suicide attack.

Meanwhile, an official handout issued by the National Assembly Secr­etariat stated that Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had requested both the government and the opposition members to nominate, in proportion to their respective representations, a special committee to probe the harassment charges levelled by MNA Aaisha Gulalai against PTI chief Imran Khan.

The government has already nominated six members but Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah stated that the PTI and Jamaat-i-Islami had refused to nominate any.

The speaker once again requested Mr Shah to nominate at least four members belonging to the opposition parties in order to facilitate notifying the committee in pursuance of a motion adopted by the house.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2017