ISLAMABAD - The opposition parties in the National Assembly (NA) on Monday showed unity and staged a walkout against the baton-charging of PTI parliamentarians and workers and their arrests by Lahore police on Saturday.
The charged legislators of the PTI, at the start of the proceedings, rose on their seats and started protesting the incident, which was also supported by the members of the other opposition parties. The House also initiated debate on the 6th presidential address of Asif Ali Zardari, which will conclude in five days. The issues about any agreement on drone attacks and the LOC violations also echoed during the proceedings.
PTI’s Shafqat Mehmood , on a point of order, came down hard on the PML-N government for the arrest of his party’s workers on The Mall. “The PTI workers’ protest was peaceful, but they were arrested and thrashed by the police,” he added. PTI Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi who took the floor thrice on the same issue, categorically warned the protest would continue if the probe report was not shared with the House. “It could be understandable if this episode happened in a dictator’s era,” he remarked.
Taking the floor, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah, responding to the concern raised from the treasury benches, said protest was right of the opposition. “The Opposition has the only way of protest against any anomaly of government and this should not be snatched from them,” he said, demanding the probe report and action on the Lahore incident in 24 hours.
Joining hands with PTI, MQM’s Asif Hasnain said the government should show tolerance and patience and this kind of incident should not happen again. He also raised the issue of target killings in Karachi
Jamaat-e-Islami’s Tariq Ullah, on a point of order, strongly condemned the incident, saying they would support PTI if no action was taken in this matter.
Sheikh Rashid said if the government was not willing to take action, he would continue supporting PTI.
PPP, PTI, MQM, JI, PML-Q, AML members, after a strong protest, staged a walkout and joined the proceedings of the House, on an assurance from Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir Affairs Minister Chaudhry Birjees Tahir that action would be taken against those responsible for the incident.
The House was informed that there was no written agreement with the US for drone attacks in Pakistan. “There is nsuch written agreement with the United States. It seems there was some kind of understanding between the US and the two former governments of the country (2002-08 and 2008-13),” Minister of State for Privatisation Khurram Dastgir said.
To another question about the LoC violations, he said Pakistani forces were giving appropriate response to the Indian forces. He, however, made it clear that the incumbent government was pursuing a policy of peace in the region.
Earlier, Journalist staged a walkout for registering an anti-terrorism case against a private channel owner and two bureau chiefs. Later, on the assurance of the government to see the matter, they ended their protest.
GOVT STANCE ON TERRORISM
TO BE BACKED
Monitoring adds: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah said Monday the government’s stance on tackling terrorism would be supported.
Shah, initiated debate on the president’s address to the joint session of the Parliament, said the government would be supported whether it decided to hold talks or use force against the Taliban.
Shah added the nation was astonished when the government took a $7 billion loan within its first week. The opposition leader appealed to the government not to ‘drown’ the nation in debt.