NA session begins today amid opposition’s boycott threat

Updated 04 Dec 2019

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The winter session of the National Assembly will begin on Wednesday (today) amid opposition’s threat to boycott proceedings, if Speaker Asad Qaiser does not issue production orders for jailed lawmakers. — APP/File
The winter session of the National Assembly will begin on Wednesday (today) amid opposition’s threat to boycott proceedings, if Speaker Asad Qaiser does not issue production orders for jailed lawmakers. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The winter session of the National Assembly will begin on Wednesday (today) amid opposition’s threat to boycott proceedings, if Speaker Asad Qaiser does not issue production orders for jailed lawmakers.

The decision to lodge a strong protest on the floor of the house and boycott of the proceedings was taken by the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in a meeting held here on Tuesday.

The meeting was presided over by PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal.

Talking to Dawn, PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said they had decided to stay away from assembly proceedings if the speaker did not issue production orders for the three arrested party MNAs — former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and MNA Rana Sanaullah.

Referring to the previous proceedings when the speaker had issued the production order for only Mr Rafique, she said this time the PML-N had decided that it would not participate in the assembly proceedings, if the speaker did not issue the production order for even a single member.

In reply to a question, she said the PML-N would take other opposition parties, including the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), into confidence on its strategy in the meeting of the joint opposition before the start of the assembly session.

When contacted, senior PPP leader Naveed Qamar also predicted a “stormy assembly session”, but said the party would make its strategy about the protest on the issue of production orders in a meeting on Wednesday.

PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Syed Khursheed Shah are the two PPP lawmakers currently under detention and both are at present under treatment in hospitals.

Meanwhile, talking to Dawn, PML-N secretary general Ahsan Iqbal declared that the opposition had decided that it would not engage or negotiate with any government representative, including ministers or advisers, on any issue, including the proposed legislation on the matter of the army chief’s extension.

The PML-N leader said they would only negotiate with Prime Minister Imran Khan, if he chose to.

Mr Iqbal said their previous experience showed that talking to any government delegation was simply a waste of time as they were not capable of getting any decision from the prime minister.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2019