ISLAMABAD: The Nat­ional Assembly on Tues­day passed two bills and saw the introduction of five others, despite clearly lacking quorum as Ghous Bux Mahar of the opposition Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) protested over the absence of ministers from the house.

Speaking on a point of order on a private member’s day, Mr Mahar also lashed out at the Centre as well as the Sindh government for, what he called, ignoring the flood victims and not providing them the compensation amount despite repeated announ­cements by ministers.

“Look, what is the situation in this house,” said the GDA member, while asking Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani to take notice of the absence of ministers from the house proceedings. He said even Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had not been seen in the house for a long time.

Mr Mahar became more agitated when the chair deferred his calling-attention notice regarding the unavailability of the of AMBU lifter at Sukkur Airport due to the absence of the minister concerned.

Earlier, the deputy spe­aker had already suspen­ded the proceedings for 15 minutes when there was no minister in the house.

However, despite clearly lacking quorum, the lower house approved two private member’s bills — the Criminal Laws (Amend­ment) Bill, 2020, and the Legal Practi­tioners and Bar Councils (Amend­ment) Bill, 2021.

Mean­while, blasting the government, Mr Mahar said the government had annou­n­ced that it would pay the flood victims for the damage to their crops, but so far the flood victims had not been given any compensation. He alleged that the flood-affected people were still living under the trees as the government had abandoned them, despite claiming to have received huge aid from foreign countries.

Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Shazia Marri, however, refuted Mr Mahar’s allegations.

The deputy speaker then adjourned proceedings till Friday morning.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2023

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