PML-N boycotts but fails to protest

ISLAMABAD - The PML-N on Wednesday boycotted the National Assembly session and preferred to sit in the side lobbies, while members from the treasury benches and other opposition parties took part in the budget debate.The session of the Lower House of Parliament started with the speech by PML-Likeminded legislator Hamayun Saifullah Khan when Saud Majeed from the PML-N entered the house from the side lobby and pointed out quorum, after which Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi had to suspend the proceedings for around 15 minutes. However, the house restarted the debate with the required strength of the members to run the house and a number of lawmakers including Farooq Sattar, Jamshed Dasti, Nawab Sher, Mustafa Mehmood and Prince Muhayyudin took part in the debate.But Saud Majeed once again came on the floor and pointed out the quorum, forcing the deputy speaker again to suspend the proceedings; however, proceedings got underway soon after counting.Meanwhile, the PML-N members entered the house to start protest around 2 pm and were about to start chanting anti-government slogans when the deputy speaker immediately suspended the proceedings till Thursday morning (today). Thus, the PML-N legislators had to leave the house without a protest during the session.Earlier, Hamayun Saifullah said the amount fixed for new dams was not sufficient and the government had to focus on hydel power generation. He demanded more share of direct taxation in revenue generation, as he called for a reduction in indirect taxes.Farooq Sattar from the MQM suggested there was no need to allocate Rs 150 billion to the NHA as the country required electricity rather than the highways.He called for promoting free trade between India and Pakistan and said the business tycoons of the both sides should be allowed to start their businesses across the border. He demanded immediate repair of Muna Bao-Khokrapar railway track and opening the Pak-India border at Bahawalpur to facilitate trade between the two countries.Praising the PPP government for presenting the fifth budget, PPP lawmaker Jamshed Dasti targeted the Punjab government for ignoring southern parts of the province in the provincial budget and said the number of schools in his constituency had been closed, while the chief minister was announcing opening of Danish Schools.Dasti said the people of south Punjab demanded formation of the new province of Janoobi Punjab, which should include Tank, DI Khan, Taunsa, Jhang and other areas, adding that they would not accept a province without Tank and DI Khan.He also asked Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman to speak openly whether he wanted DI Khan to become a part of Janoobi Punjab or not.Talking about the case against the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Dasti said some people were accusing the PPP of involving his son in the case, which was nothing but a baseless accusation and the chief justice should himself expose the hidden hands.He further said the PPP believed in the politics of reconciliation and it would not replicate the PML-N’s attitude in the Punjab Assembly during the budget session.Nawab Sher (PPP) reacted to the PML-N absence and said the leading opposition party should come in the house and give suggestions for improving the budget. “This is what they are paid for,” he remarked.

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