ISLAMABAD: A spokesman for the National Assembly Secretariat on Monday refuted allegations levelled by the opposition Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) that Speaker Asad Qaiser was unable to perform his functions impartially because of pressure from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
“There is no pressure on the National Assembly speaker and he does not work under any kind of pressure,” the spokesman said in a statement issued hours after a news conference held by PML-N leaders in Lahore.
At the press conference, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi alleged that the speaker was powerless and unable to perform his functions due to the pressure from the PTI leadership on certain issues. Mr Abbasi claimed that the speaker had himself told them in a number of meetings that he was under pressure.
On the other hand, the NA Secretariat’s spokesman asked the PML-N leader to provide evidence to prove his claim and tell the name of the person with whom the speaker was talking when he had made such a statement.
The spokesman clarified that the speaker had been performing his functions and duties independently and in an impartial manner. He said the speaker had run the National Assembly strictly on merit and the assembly record was proof of it.
The spokesman said that the speaker had provided full opportunity to the members to express their views on each and every bill so far presented before the house. “The allegation that the speaker has been functioning under duress is baseless and fabricated.”
The speaker had to face criticism from the opposition parties during the previous session of the National Assembly for a delay in the issuance of the production order for jailed PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique. A number of PML-N leaders had alleged on the floor of the house that the speaker looked towards the treasury benches while making decisions.
Speaker Qaiser had also faced criticism due to the delay in the formation of NA committees.
He had to play the role of a mediator in resolving the dispute between the government and the opposition over the nomination of Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2019