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Government, opposition members point fingers at each other over NA ruckus

June 14, 2019

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Shehbaz says today's happenings were treasury's fault; Fawad says opposition uninterested in budget debate. — DawnNewsTV
Shehbaz says today's happenings were treasury's fault; Fawad says opposition uninterested in budget debate. — DawnNewsTV

Members of both the opposition and treasury benches tried to defend themselves after general pandemonium in the National Assembly's budget debate session on Friday resulted in yet another adjournment.

The budget session had started with disorder in the morning and ended in chaos in the afternoon after loud protests and verbal exchanges between lawmakers prevented proceedings.

Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif

Speaking to the media on his way out of the assembly, Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif said, "Everything that happened in the assembly today is the government's fault. This will only worsen the situation and the environment [in the NA] will be strained further."

"What happened today may end up damaging democracy and the democratic process. If the prime minister comes to the assembly tomorrow, I will try hard to not provide him such an environment," he added.

"Such behaviour could lead to the situation taking a turn for the worse," he concluded.

Rana Sanaullah

PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah also commented on the situation after leaving the National Assembly.

"What happened today has never happened before. Never have the treasury benches been allowed to keep the opposition leader from speaking," he said.

Commenting on the government's performance, Sanaullah said: "These incapable people are not fit to run the government. It is because of their incompetence that Pakistan faces economic pressure. Economic analysts are saying that the country is close to bankruptcy."

"Practical steps need to be taken [to save the economy]. It has been decided that this government cannot function. In the 'all parties conference', the opposition will come up with a strategy," he said, referring to an upcoming meeting of all opposition parties in July.

Fawad Cahudhry

Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry also gave his two cents on what had ensued in the National Assembly.

"Our demand in today's National Assembly session was simple. We wanted the opposition to apologise for their conduct during the budget session and the opposition leader would have then been allowed to continue his speech," he said, referring to the opposition's attempts to disrupt the presentation of the budget on Wednesday.

"The JUI-F then kept the leader of the opposition from conducting his speech. This shows the clear divide in the opposition."

Speaking about Sharif's insistence that a member of the JUI-F be allowed to speak before him — on a matter pertaining to alleged blasphemy — Fawad said: "PML-N has been the pioneer of politicking over religion. When the TLP was holding a dharna over religious matters, it was these same people that kept saying that religion should be kept away from politics and that such acts are to be looked down upon. Now, when it is up to them, they are doing the same."

Fawad further said that the activity in the National Assembly today had made it clear that the opposition was uninterested in debating on the budget.

"However, Prime Minister Imran Khan is returning tonight and on Monday we will make sure that the discussion on the budget is started in earnest."