ISLAMABAD: The quorum syndrome marred the Senate proceedings on Tuesday and finally had to be adjourned due to lack of required numbers, affecting a debate on the country’s “deteriorating” economy and flood situation.

Quorum was pointed out twice, once by a treasury member and then by the opposition. After the first call, sitting was adjourned for 10 minutes, and resumed under the Senate deputy chairman to lawmakers’ surprise without any fresh count.

After the house resumed, Leader of the Opposition Dr Shahzad Waseem on a point of public concern raised an objection that only a state minister was sitting in the house out of a “heavy cabinet” of over 70 ministers, advisers and special assistants.

“This is the face of the government,” he said, adding that the “drowning” government did not look functioning anywhere. “Is this your management?” he asked, referring to the empty treasury chairs.

Following this, the opposition staged a protest walkout form the house against what it called irresponsible behaviour of the government. Minister of State for Law Awan was on his feet when a lawmaker from the opposition pointed out the quorum.

In another unusual move, the chair allowed state minister Shahadat Awan to wind up the debate on the commenced motion, who insisted that it was not the time for politics as the flood victims needed help. The house was later adjourned to meet again on Friday.

Earlier, during the question hour, the Senate was informed that retired Justice Javed Iqbal during his tenure as NAB chairman from October 11, 2017 to June 3, 2022, received Rs74.50 million as salary and allowances.

Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2022

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