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Don’t issue production orders, PM tells NA Speaker

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked the Speaker of National Assembly not to issue production orders as convicted persons should not come from jail to address the parliament.

The premier has also asked his national legislature’s colleagues not to allow corrupt members to express their views in the National Assembly since they had created hurdle in the speeches from the treasury benches. He has maintained that people of Pakistan have mandated the PTI for breaking the status quo and to take on corrupt elements by waging a decisive war against them.

Imran Khan expressed these views during the parliamentary party meeting of the ruling coalition Monday in the committee room of the Parliament House before the commencement of the session of the National Assembly and Senate, where proceedings were hampered due to uproar.

One of the major allies of the ruling group, BNP-Mengal, opted to stay away from the parliamentary group’s meeting.

Imran Khan said he will fight alone even if allies ditched him. The prime minister said the past rulers had adopted a royal and lavish lifestyle and plunged the country into the quagmire of debts. He said that half of the country's income is being spent on paying instalments of loans taken by the previous governments. “A debt of 24,000 billion rupees was increased in just 10 years and I have formed a commission to investigate that and fix the responsibility,” he said.

Imran Khan said that his government faced the toughest situation in the first 10 months of power which is by and large over now. He said, “The government's efforts have brought economic stability to the country.” He paid gratitude to friendly countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and China for helping Pakistan in difficult times.

Imran Khan advised parliamentarians of ruling coalition group to actively play their role in the process to get the budget passed from National Assembly. He regretted opposition's attempts to disrupt proceedings of the House during budget debate.

The sources said that some members advised the leadership not to create rumpus during the debate on budget in the National Assembly so that the budget is passed smoothly. The prime minister ignored their plea and asked them to continue with their resistance against the opposition parties. Imran Khan regretted that the opposition has been deliberately trying to create hurdles in the budget session. He made it clear that the people who have chained the country in foreign debts and filled their own kitty deserve treatment due for criminals of the nation.

The National Assembly witnessed another noisy day as members from the treasury benches including the ministers disrupted proceedings of the House and also made it difficult for Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif to complete his opening speech on the budget debate on Monday.

The House was adjourned after 30 minutes of start when Speaker Asad Qaiser found it difficult to run proceedings due to uproar from the treasury benches and expressed helplessness to control the situation. Some of government members while paying no heed to warnings from the chair, came closer to the chair of the opposition leader while raising slogans and carrying small placards.

A few minutes after start of proceedings, the National Assembly hall turned into a fish market due to sloganeering and whistling from both sides as Shahbaz Sharif and the PPP leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf demanded issuance of production orders of Asif Ali Zardari, Khawaja Saad Rafique and other members who were under arrest.

The opposition members took their seats after demanding production orders of their colleagues in the Parliament, but the Government members started sloganeering and protest as soon as Shahbaz Sharif was given the floor to start his speech.

Shahbaz Sharif could utter a few sentences while asking the speaker to issue production orders of Asif Zardari, Saad Rafique and others said it was right of every member to present demands and grievances of his voters during debate on the federal budget.

Speaking on budget proposals, the opposition leader said the government failed in coming up to the expectations of the people saying no deserving person who could ask for Zakat was left in state of Madina of which the incumbent prime minister use to refer. Shahbaz Sharif went on to say that there was also no room for telling lies and making false claims in the state of Madina. He said the government of PML-N also met challenge of energy crisis in the country and put an end to load-shedding.

The speaker told the opposition leader that he would issue production orders of arrested members on receiving legal opinion from the Ministry of Law. He also expunged Shahbaz Sharif’s remarks used for the prime minister which invited protest from the opposition members.

Talking to media persons following end of Monday’s proceedings, senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi flanked by Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Ahsan Iqbal said that in present situation, the prime minister neither would be able to come to the National Assembly nor he would be in a position to deliver speech on floor of the House. “This is a matter of fact that on directives of the prime minister, the government members are disrupting proceedings of the National Assembly,” he said.

Abbasi said the government was doing so only to deviate attention of parliamentarians, media and people from federal budget which presented sorry figure of the national economy.

To a question, he asked the speaker to quit if he is not able to do justice with his job. “I have already requested the speaker to accept his request and sanctity of the House if he feels that he is working under pressure,” he said.

The PML-N parliamentary leader Khawaja Asif warned the government of roll-back of democratic system and any extra-constitutional step if it continues with its present attitude in the National Assembly. “We have seen time and again that extra-constitutional step is taken whenever the civilian set up fails,” he said.

Khawaja Asif accused Prime Minister Imran Khan of directing his parliamentarians that they should not allow smooth functioning of proceedings of the House.

Referring to removal of Fawad Chaudhry as information minister, he said the government’s ministers have been facing humiliation at the hands of their own leader. “The ministers whose portfolios were changed are frustrated and in frustration they are slapping journalists,” he said.

The PML-N leader pointed out that the incumbent Government had started appointing experts of the last government once its own people failed to deliver.

Meanwhile, prior to start of proceedings of two houses of the Parliament, the members of the PPP from Senate and National Assembly staged sit-in in front of chamber of the Speaker to press for their demand of issuing Asif Ali Zardari’s production orders.

The PPP lawmakers raised slogans “Issue production orders of Asif Zardari’ till Speaker Asad Qaiser came out of his chamber to listen to their concerns.

Pervaiz Ashraf and Senator Sherry Rehman told the speaker that it was right of Asif Zardari to attend proceedings of the House and take part in budget debate and voting for passage of budget proposals.

The speaker, however, told them that he had sought legal opinion from the Ministry of Law and would take decision in the light of response from the ministry. The PPP members insisted that it was prerogative of the speaker to issue production orders of any parliamentarian who is under arrest.

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