7 Pak lawmakers barred from House over ruckus

Wednesday 23rd June 2021 06:26 EDT

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan national assembly speaker Asad Qaiser barred seven lawmakers from both sides for creating ruckus and behaving in an “unparliamentary” and “inappropriate manner” a day earlier in the House as chaos in the lower house continued for the third straight day forcing leader of the opposition Shehbaz Sharif to cut his budget speech short yet again.

The decision to ban legislators came after the House turned into a fish market as the parliamentarians from both the treasury and opposition squabbled with each other using foul language and threw budget copies during the speech by Shehbaz, the PML-N president. The National Assembly proceedings were suspended thrice after the lawmakers from the government side, led by some ministers who had come directly to the House after attending the weekly cabinet meeting, refused to listen to Qaiser’s instructions to stay quiet and kept on sloganeering and desk-thumping.

The speaker in a tweet said that the members who disrupted the session during Shehbaz’s speech had been barred from entering the House due to their “unparliamentary” and “inappropriate” behaviour. Earlier in the day, Qaiser met Prime Minister Imran Khan during which the country's political situation and ruckus came under discussion. The speaker said that the PM was informed about the incident, adding that those who had violated the sanctity of the House would be punished.

Sources said before the meeting between the prime minister and the speaker, an inquiry meeting was also held in the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Qaiser, in which the National Assembly deputy speaker and secretary participated. The meeting reviewed the footage and evidence against those who resorted to disorder in the House.

A committee headed by the NA speaker completed the inquiry and decided that members who used vulgar language would not be allowed to attend the session. Meanwhile, the National Assembly proceedings in the next day were also adjourned minutes after they started as chaos continued in the house for the third straight day forcing Shehbaz to cut his budget speech short yet again. Shehbaz tried to finish his speech in the presence of sergeants but the treasury members did not allow him to do so as they resorted to sloganeering.

As soon as the proceedings started, the speaker condemned the unruly behaviour witnessed during Tuesdays’ proceedings and called for a temporary adjournment so that a 12-member parliamentary reconciliation committee could meet. However, tensions between the government and the opposition escalated during this period. Separate consultative meetings were held in the speaker's chamber and the opposition lobbies. A government delegation met the opposition leader but to no avail.

As the proceedings resumed, Shehbaz held PM Imran responsible for the chaos in the house a day earlier. This compelled the treasury members to resort to making noise again. The proceedings were adjourned for 15 minutes. However, when they resumed, there was rumpus in the house again, compelling the speaker to adjourn it again. "I will not conduct this House until both the government and the opposition [settle their matters]," he said before walking out.

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