ISLAMABAD - Although the government has scored a double hat-trick in failing to run business of the National Assembly smoothly — due to lack of quorum — the adjournment of the lower house on Thursday could be blamed on the Panama Leaks verdict, as most lawmakers, instead of attending the session, preferred to dash into the nearby Supreme Court building.None of the lawmakers from both sides of the aisles, who were present in the house, uttered a single word about the expected Panamagate verdict. “A large number of legislators are in the Supreme Court building,” these remarks were passed by treasury benches when PTI lawmaker Ayesha Gulalai Wazir made a failed attempt to disrupt the house proceeding by pointing out quorum.
The government side though survived the first attack from the opposition member, the major opposition party — the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) — succeeded in suspending the house by pointing out the lack of the required strength.
Shahida Rehmani — a PPP lawmaker, who is otherwise not so active in taking part in the house proceedings and most of the time seen pointing out quorum apparently on party’s directions — interrupted Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir in the middle of his policy statement regarding boost in country’s exports by pointing out quorum. Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi preferred to adjourn the house as hardly two dozen members, most of treasury benches, were sitting in the house when the counting began.
The PPP for the sixth consecutive day boycotted the proceeding over the “silence of the government” on the issue of disappearance of Asif Ali Zardari’s aides. Opposition Leader in NA Khursheed Shah, who apparently avoided speaking on the expected Panama leaks verdict, blamed the government for providing an opportunity to courts to decide controversial matters.
“The people of the country are waiting for decisions outside courts,” Shah said inferring that the Panama controversy could be handled in the parliament. The opposition leader, who is otherwise considered a composed politician and famed for his balanced remarks against political opponents, termed the incumbent government the “most weak and powerless”, he ever saw in his over the 30-year political career.
“I have been raising the issue for last many days but the government is not bothered to come up with any reply,” said Shah terming the Nawaz-led government even worse than that of a dictator’s one.
While Shah was pouring scorn on the government, Former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah and PPP Senior Minister in Sindh Assembly Nisar Khuro witnessed the proceeding from the Speaker’s gallery. Both the senior members of the PPP were warmly welcomed not only by their party members but also by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab.
The harsh remarks of the opposition leader and the PPP boycott could not move the government as the chair (deputy speaker) futilely attempted to dispose of the rest of the agenda items.
The government has been facing embarrassment due to lack of quorum, lead to adjournments.
During the question-hour session, an interesting exchange of remarks between government and opposition members was also witnessed. An opposition lawmaker accused the government of giving lollypop to the masses in the name of construction of roads. “The global system is running on the lollypop,” Sheikh Aftab responded in a lighter vein and the house burst into laughter.