NA speaker calls session on Oct 17; production order issued for Shahbaz Sharif

Updated 10 Oct 2018


Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif flashing a thumbs up. —File photo
Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif flashing a thumbs up. —File photo

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Wednesday issued directives to convene session of the National Assembly on October 17 following a requisition made by the opposition parties.

Additionally, the NA Secretariat also issued production orders to ensure the presence of Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif, who is currently in the National Accountability Bureau's custody.

The opposition parties, however, are adamant to protest outside the Parliament House on Thursday, saying the NA speaker did not accept their demand for calling the NA session this week.

"We had requested for the NA session to be called 'timely' but the NA speaker did not accept our request," said PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb.

On October 5, the evening when Sharif was arrested, a requisition to call an NA session to deliberate the matter had been submitted to the NA secretariat.

The next day, on October 6, a delegation of opposition leaders comprising the PML-N chairman and Leader of the Opposition in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leader Abdul Ghafoor Haideri and PML-N lawmaker Rana Tanvir met the incumbent NA speaker at his residence and urged him to summon the session soon as they wished to raise the issue of Shahbaz’s arrest.

PML-N protest outside Punjab Assembly

Meanwhile, the PML-N's provincial lawmakers, led by Hamza Shahbaz, gathered outside the Punjab Assembly today to condemn Sharif's arrest by NAB authorities in connection to their investigation into the management of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) and the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).

The protesting members of Punjab Assembly were barred from entering the premises, upon which they attempted to break the gate down.

The parties had earlier planned on staging a peaceful demonstration on the steps of the Punjab Assembly. Upon their being not being allowed to enter, slogans of "jaali wazeer-e-azam" (fake prime minister) and "jaali wazeer-e-aala" (fake chief minister) erupted outside the premises.

Among those present were Hamza Shahbaz, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Khwaja Imran Nazeer, Hina Pervaiz Butt, Bushra Anjum Butt, and Uzma Bukhari, among others.

Hamza Shahbaz, while addressing the gathering, proclaimed that the "true face" of the government — "which had won hundreds of thousands of votes raising slogans against the parliament" — had been exposed before the people.

Party member Mian Naseer Ahmed also expressed strong reservations about the treatment meted out to the protesters.

"Not calling a [timely] session is one thing but barring us from entering the premises is unethical," he declared, adding that in the country's 71-year history, the MPAs and media were barred from entering the Punjab Assembly for the first time.

Khwaja Saad Rafique said that the closing of the Punjab Assembly's doors is a dictatorial move and signifies that "these people have no relation to democracy whatsoever".

He said that the prime minister was unsuccessful in his efforts to govern the country and that "his tone was unacceptable and intolerable".

The former minister for railways said that there was only one motive behind the arrest of the leader of the opposition.

"Imran Khan has no agenda and just wants to clash with the opposition. He is a most unusual leader," he said.

Rafique challenged the prime minister to "catch" them, like he [Imran] repeatedly promises he will. "It will be our hand and your collar," Rafique boldly declared, promising that with the power of the vote they will oust "this Bal Thackeray".

The former minister also warned that if the prevailing situation in the country is not resolved, the opposition will have no other choice but to protest. He said to the media present that the protest was not only against Shahbaz's "illegal" arrest but also against rising inflation in Pakistan.

With additional reporting from Ali Waqar.