ISLAMABAD – The ruckus in the National Assembly (NA) continued for the second consecutive day as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and government lawmakers continued to throw allegations at each other.
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The session started two hours behind schedule, in an effort to change the atmosphere after speeches by leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Wednesday.
Accepting PTI’s demand, seconded by Khursheed Shah, the speaker allowed PTI’s Shah Mahmood Qureshi to speak after suspending the question-hour and other items on the day’s agenda.
Members of the opposition began yelling as soon as Qureshi kicked off his address to the speaker in a hostile manner.
“I would have presented my point of view on the privilege motion submitted by my party if you had given me 10 minutes after Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah spoke yesterday,” said Qureshi.
“If this was done yesterday then what happened yesterday would not have happened.”
“I expect the speaker to protect the rights of minorities and the opposition. I might be alone and my voice might be weak, but I am speaking on behalf of eight million people,” said the veteran PTI leader.
The PTI leader said he has seen the speaker giving in to pressure from the government. He added that he will respect Sadiq if he is neutral, but would not refer to him as the ‘speaker’ if he sided with the government.
“I never disrespected you as the speaker. I never wanted to address you like I did yesterday. I was dragged and forced in that corner to address you as Mr Ayaz Sadiq,” said Qureshi, explaining his earlier outburst.
Rafique’s approach was conciliatory during Thursday’s proceedings, and he retracted his comments in which he allegedly called PTI members goons (Ghunday), clarifying that he had used the word ‘Ghunda Gardi’.