A delegation of opposition leaders met National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser at his residence on Saturday to urge him to summon a National Assembly (NA) session over the arrest of Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif.
Led by former PML-N speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, the delegation also included Raja Zafarul Haq, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl's Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and others.
NA Speaker Qaiser assured the delegation that an NA session will be called within 14 days.
Following the meeting, the delegation delivered a media talk, where Sadiq linked the timing of Shahbaz's arrest to the upcoming by-elections.
"An attempt is being made to steal the by-elections," he said. "The government only has a lead of four members.
"[Shahbaz] was called for the Saaf Pani case but was arrested in the Ashiana case. PML-N is being made a target of political vengeance. The government is using the NAB," he alleged.
He referred to Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry's comments, in which the latter had said that Shahbaz's arrest was the "first step". He asked if NAB would now arrest people on the government's orders.
He also questioned the timing of the decision to place the names of Khawaja Saad Rafique on the Exit Control List, saying that he was one of the candidates of the upcoming elections.
While the former speaker clarified that he supported the accountability of politicians, he also asked: "Who will hold NAB accountable?"
"I will contact Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Pervez Khattak as well," Sadiq added, hoping that a parliamentary session will be called in two to three days.
Leader of the Opposition in Senate, Raja Zafarul Haq also expressed his concerns over the development and said that the "entire country was sad" at Shahbaz's arrest. He repeated Sadiq's demand for an NA session and insisted that "it was important that production orders for opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif are issued".
Meanwhile, JUI-F leader Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidery termed Shahbaz's arrest as "shameful" and claimed that the government was "making cowardly decisions against one party".
"Opposition will not remain silent," he warned and added that: "It seems the government has decided to go home already."
MPAs request speaker Elahi to convene PA session
Later in the day, several MPAs from Punjab wrote to Speaker Pervez Elahi to summon a session "under Article 54(3) read with Article 127 of the Constitution of Pakistan to discuss the unjustified arrest of the Leader of the Opposition".
PML-N's Samiullah Khan, one of the co-signatories to the application, demanded that the Punjab Assembly session be convened before October 16 — the day when Shahbaz's remand will end.
Resolution moved in PA against Shahbaz's arrest
PML-N leader Hina Pervez Butt tabled a resolution in the Punjab Assembly condemning Shahbaz's arrest.
"The arrest of Mian Nawaz Sharif before general elections and the arrest of Mian Shahbaz Sharif before by-elections has raised several questions," Butt states in the resolution. "Such dirty tactics are being used to run a failing government.
"This [latest] arrest proves that one party is being arrest but the other is being given relief. Revenge is being exacted in the name of accountability.
"Therefore, this parliament registers a comprehensive protest against Mian Shahbaz Sharif's arrest and demands his immediate release."
Butt warned that in case of the government's failure to release Shahbaz before the by-elections, there will be countrywide protests.