ISLAMABAD: PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday traded barbs during a session on the budget.
As the session commenced, the PPP chairperson lashed out at the NA speaker and the government for "rigging" the procedure to approve the budget.
After severely criticising the government over the provisions of budget 2021-22 and condemning the legislative process conducted on Tuesday, the PPP chairperson left the House after his speech.
"He spoke a lot about [parliamentariy] procedures; I would also like to speak on procedures a bit," said a passionate FM Qureshi after Bilawal and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had spoken.
"Where did he go after making his speech? I want him to return," he added.
"I would like to ask Bilawal Bhutto to return to his seat; come back to the field and listen to us now," the foreign minister stated.
The Opposition benches in the National Assembly broke into huge applause when the PPP chairperson, with another lawmaker by his side, returned to his seat.
The foreign minister spoke briefly but after immense criticism from the Opposition benches, asked the speaker to let a JUI-F MNA speak instead, and sat down.
Later, a war of words erupted between the two leaders when Bhutto took a dig at the foreign minister.
"I would like to request the prime minister to order the ISI to tape Shah Mahmood Qureshi's phone," taunted Bhutto. "When he used to be our foreign minister, he ran a campaign around the world to make him the prime minister, instead of Yousaf Raza Gillani," he added.
"That is why we sacked him from the post of foreign minister," added the PPP leader.
The foreign minister responded to the PPP leader's accusations, telling him that he also knew Bhutto "since he was a little kid".
He hit back at the PPP chairperson by referring to him as a "kid".
"I know you since you were a kid and I also knew your parents as well," he added.
'PM won't be able to speak here if leader of the Opposition isn't allowed to'
Speaking after Bhutto concluded his speech, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said he supported everything said by the PPP chairperson.
Abbasi, like Bhutto, turned his guns on Speaker Asad Qaiser, criticising him for not honouring agreements with Opposition members.
"We sit with you and reach agreements time and again but no attention is paid towards them," he complained.
The PML-N leader said that as per the rules of the House, whenever a vote is cast or recorded, it should be recounted as well.
Speaking about incarcerated MNAs Khursheed Shah and Ali Wazir Khan, Abbasi said they also had the right to sit in parliamentary proceedings.
"Khursheed Shah is one of the oldest members of this House," he said. "Didn't you see Khursheed Shah's chair vacant for the past two years?" he added.
The former prime minister told the speaker that the National Assembly "runs according to the rules, not your wishes".
As the PML-N leader spoke, members of the treasury benches started shouting slogans and jeering him. Abbasi said PM Imran Khan will not be allowed to speak if the treasury benches prevented the leader of the Opposition from speaking as well.
"If the leader of Opposition cannot speak here, the leader of the House will not be able to [speak] as well," he added.
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