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October 12, 2018

Opposition stages protest outside Parliament House

Top Story

October 12, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The joint opposition led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) sans Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) staged a sit-in outside the Parliament House here on Thursday.

The protesting lawmakers mainly from the PML-N called it their “own assembly.” They were protesting against the arrest of Opposition Leader in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif.

The PML-N and its like-minded allied parties were scheduled to hold their assembly in front of the Gate No 1 of parliament but the media was not allowed to cover the event by the National Assembly Secretariat. Afterwards, it was decided that the protest should be held outside the Parliament House. Though the PPP was absent from the opposition show, many PML-N parliamentarians also did not turn up to protest.

The PML-N parliamentarians and like-minded parties chanting slogans and holding placards gathered outside the Parliament House and held their assembly that was chaired by ex-Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and attended by Opposition Leader in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq and parliamentarians of both the houses of parliament of thePML-N, MMA, PkMAP and from other opposition parties except the PPP.

The opposition parties also adopted five resolutions through which they demanded issuance of the production order of Shahbaz Sharif for the parliamentary party meeting of the PML-N, which was summoned on October 16, a day ahead of the requisitioned session of the National Assembly that was summoned by Speaker National Assembly on October 17.

It may be mentioned here that the National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar had already issued production order of opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif for the October 17 session of the National Assembly. Kicking of the speeches, PML-N Parliamentary Leader in the National Assembly Rana Tanveer Hussain said that the way Shahbaz Sharif was arrested was made a joke in the world. “The arrest of the opposition leader is a contempt of parliament,” he said.

Rana Tanveer said the opposition had submitted the requisition to summon the National Assembly immediately after the arrest of the opposition leader but the speaker summoned the session on October 17 and rather than delay in summoning, it should have summoned it immediately.

He said the speaker should ensure the presence of Shahbaz Sharif in the National Assembly session on October 17 that the government or any of the department will not create hurdles in this regard. He demanded early release of Shahbaz Sharif and said that the PML-N had been targeted for the last two years and it was still going on. “Shahbaz Sharif remained the Punjab chief minister three times and introduced good governance and thus changed the Punjab,” he said adding that Shahbaz Sharif was arrested to accomplish special agenda.

Rana Tanveer said the people of Pakistan and parliament had rejected arrest of Shahbaz Sharif. Addressing the protest rally, PML-N senior leader Rana Sanaullah presented details of the case under which Shahbaz Sharif was arrested by the NAB and said that there were no corruption allegations against Shahbaz Sharif. "Still, he was arrested but Babar Awan, and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi, who was once dubbed by Imran Khan the biggest dacoit, had not been arrested," he lamented. He warned if political victimisation did not end, they would take the protest beyond parliament.

PML-N’s senior leader Senator Mushahidullah said that the party, which was going to sit on the opposition benches, was given the government through engineered results. He said he asked “PPM’ (Puppet Prime Minister) if these elections were transparent and there was nothing to hide, why they did not get the footage from the CCTV cameras which were installed at all the polling stations to prove their claim of transparent election.

Senator Mushahidullah said that Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were targeted for their commitment to the civilian supremacy and uphold the Constitution and law of the land. He said that the reason to arrest Shahbaz Sharif was of by-election. “Shahbaz Sharif’s fault is that he is a patriot,” he said.

Hitting hard at the government on opting for the IMF, Senator Mushahidullah said the PTI were claiming if they got the government, they would not go to the IMF and now they were saying that previous governments of the PPP and PML-N had also knocked at the IMF’s door. “If you have to follow in the footsteps of PPP and PML-N, why they are fooling the people,” he questioned. He said the PTI campaign of tree plantation was only to earn money.

PML-N leader Senator Asif Kirmani claimed that the opponents were scared of the by-elections and, therefore, Shahbaz Sharif was arrested. “There was controlled democracy, controlled government and controlled media. The person who has been serving the country for the last 10 years has been put behind the bars in fake and fabricated cases,” he said.

JUI-F senior leader Senator Maulana Attaur Rehman said the prime minister did not know how to govern and run the government. Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Senator Usman Kakar condemned the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif. He termed the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif illegal and demanded resignation of National Accountability Bureau chairman. “A verdict was announced against Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz before the general elections 2018. The battle is being fought between democratic and undemocratic forces,” Kakar told participants.

Shahida Akhtar Ali of the JUI-F said that she wanted to ask the NAB whether clause 24 was only applicable on those who were appearing on every hearing or others also. “Questions were raised against the institutions for targeting one family only,” she said.

PML-N legislator Javed Lateef said Shahbaz Sharif was included in the list of those who were facing charges of corruption, mutiny and treason after leaving power and congratulated Shahbaz Sharif on coming into the list of Liaquat Ali Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. He said it was a war of the people of Pakistan which was fought by the patriots of Pakistan. “Our fight is against the ‘selected prime minister’.

Former information minister and Spokesperson for PML-N Marriyam Aurangzeb moved the resolution condemning the censorship on the media. She slammed the government for not allowing the media to enter the Parliament House to cover the protest meeting of the opposition. Murtaza Javed Abbasi moved the resolution demanding issuance of the production order of Shahbaz Sharif in the meeting of the parliamentary party of PML-N, scheduled to be held on October 16.

Through another resolution, the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif was condemned and NAB declared as a facilitator to the government. Sardar Shafiq Tareen moved the resolution condemning the government’s economic policies stating that Imran Khan in his 55 days in power put the loss of Rs2,800 billion to the national exchequer.

Shahida Akhtar Ali through her resolution blasted the government for accepting the hard conditions of the IMF and raise in the gas and electricity tariffs. Besides PPP, the parliamentarians of the ANP and National Party (NP) also did not attend the opposition protest.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly Secretariat termed the opposition’s attitude of holding its meeting outside the Parliament House “disappointing, unjustified and questionable’ stating that despite Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar summoning the session of the National Assembly on October 17 and issuing the production order of the Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif for the upcoming session of the National Assembly, the opposition meeting outside the Parliament was unjustified and against the parliamentary traditions and practices.

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