NA session ends in chaos as government lawmakers chant slogans against opposition leader

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The session of the National Assembly descended into utter disorder on Friday, marred by chants and slogans from the treasury benches against the opposition leader.

Chaos continued in the House as Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri repeatedly urged Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif to start his speech on the federal budget.

Members of the government chanted slogans against the opposition leader as he continued to try to speak—an episode which lasted more than 45 minutes as the opposition leader stood up and sat back down several times.

The session comes after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government presented the federal budget in the National Assembly on Wednesday, its first budget since coming to power in July. But there was pandemonium in the lower house as opposition benches erupted in outrage.

Friday’s session was subsequently adjourned until Monday as the deputy speaker failed to bring order to the house.

‘Govt does not want budget session to continue’

At a joint press conference following the assembly session, opposition leaders criticised members of the government for disrupting the order in the House.

The government does not want the budget session to continue, said Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif said, claiming he had heard that ministers were ordered to disrupt the session on orders from the leadership.

“Opposition leaders want to debate on the budget, but the government does not want that. We want the budget to be passed,” former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told reporters.

“We want to provide relief to the masses, but the government does not wish that to happen.”

“The opposition leader had to start the budget debate, but government lawmakers continued to make a noise in the House. They don’t even know that it is the opposition leader who starts the budget debate,” said former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Raja Pervez Ashraf.

“This is a puppet government. They do what they are told. They did not prepare this budget, the IMF did.”