Lawmakers scale Sindh Assembly gate to enter building as PTI MPAs block entrance, stage sit-in

Published June 29, 2021
PTI MPAs scale the Sindh Assembly gate to enter the premises after guards denied them entry on directions of the speaker yesterday. — DawnNewsTV
PTI MPAs scale the Sindh Assembly gate to enter the premises after guards denied them entry on directions of the speaker yesterday. — DawnNewsTV

At least eight opposition lawmakers — belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) — were barred from entering the Sindh Assembly premises on Tuesday in view of their “disorderly conduct damaging the sanctity of the House” during yesterday’s session, prompting the party leaders to stage a sit-in outside the assembly gate today.

The PTI lawmakers had disrupted the assembly proceedings on Monday when opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh was denied permission to address the House before his turn. Subsequently, the opposition legislators created a rumpus and also brought a charpoy into the House, symbolising it as the “funeral of democracy”, thus drawing criticism from the treasury benches.

The speaker later expressed displeasure over the behaviour of the opposition, saying they had violated the sanctity of the House. He subsequently banned the entry of eight PTI MPAs from the current session. The barred MPAs were identified as Saeed Ahmed, Rabistan Khan, Arsalan Taj Hussain, Muhammad Ali Aziz, Adeel Ahmed, Shah Nawaz Jadoon, Bilal Ahmed and Raja Azhar Khan.

Today, a group of PTI lawmakers arrived at the assembly, accompanied by supporters holding drums, while a few others banned from the session wore garlands, but they were stopped by the security staff. Opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh also joined them and attempted to pressure the staff to allow them entry, but in vain.

The order issued by the speaker Sindh Assembly barring entry of eight PTI MPAs from the current session.
The order issued by the speaker Sindh Assembly barring entry of eight PTI MPAs from the current session.

Amid resistance from the guards, PTI’s Shabbir Qureshi, Muhammad Riaz Haider and Abdul Rasheed of the MMA [who was among the MPAs looking to enter the building] scaled the gate and managed to enter the assembly.

Meanwhile, two female legislators of the PTI — Sidra Imran and Rabia Azfar Nizami — made it to the assembly from another gate after security staff cordoned the main gate due to commotion caused by the opposition.

Firdous Shamim Naqvi resigns

As the assembly proceedings began, PTI leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi rose to speak first, but Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani refused permission to him, insisting the assembly business would be conducted first. Naqvi resented the speaker’s direction and left the House.

Speaking to media outside the assembly, Naqvi said their leader was barred from speaking in the House yesterday, while a few other legislators were denied entry to the assembly today. “I announce to resign from my seat (PS-101, Karachi East-III) due to behaviour of the Sindh government and I have submitted my resignation on the floor of the House,” he said, adding that he could take to the streets to lodge his protest.

Haleem Adil Sheikh, while hitting out at the PPP, said it was regretful that Firdous Shamim Naqvi had resigned from his seat.

He also accused the PPP government of “stabbing” democracy.

'Worst dictatorship'

Meanwhile, the party's leaders at the Centre also criticised the PPP and the Sindh government for “not letting in the PTI MPAs”.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry commented that with “the way the opposition's voice was throttled in the Sindh Assembly, it is my opinion that Zardari dictatorship is established in Sindh, [it] has been strengthened”.

He said that not allowing opposition MPAs to enter the provincial assembly was the “worst dictatorship”.

Federal Minister for Shipping and Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi also condemned what he termed “fascist behavior of the PPP government in the Sindh Assembly”.

In a video message, Zaidi said: “The conditions of the Sindh Assembly we have seen in the budget session, the way the budget was passed through thuggery [...] the opposition leader did not give a speech, opposition parliamentarians were not allowed into the Assembly, the way female MPAs were pushed and misbehaved with — I strongly condemn that.”

“We will teach them a lesson by taking revenge through democracy,” he vowed.

He urged Naqvi to take back his resignation, saying the party “really needed” him and the whole federal government was standing with him.

He said the Sindh government had become “worried because of the work we are doing in Karachi”.

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