ISLAMABAD: The opposition teamed up against government on Monday as it staged a walkout in protest against the Punjab government’s clamp down on Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) workers in Lahore.
Punjab police had arrested dozens of the PTI activists, who had been staging a sit-in against the alleged rigging in by-elections.
The opposition parties staged the walkout at the outset of Monday’s proceedings.
Members of the National Assembly from the PTI, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jamat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami Muslim League (AML) protested against what they called highhandedness of Punjab Police. This went on despite several requests by the deputy speaker to take up the matter after the question hour.
Following the insistence of the opposition members, Deputy Speaker Murtza Javed Abbasi allowed the PTI members to discuss the issue first.
The PTI MNA Shafqat Mehmood termed the Punjab government’s instructions to the police as undemocratic. “The PTI members have been treated like the way Musharraf government used to treat the PML-N,” he said.
However, the Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir Affairs Minister Barjees Tahir intervened and said if the opposition wanted to stage a walkout it should go ahead instead of making the house fish market.
The statement prompted the Leader of the Opposition Syed Khrushid Shah to register protest against the attitude of a minister. Shah termed the statement deplorable and said that the opposition had no option than to boycott the proceedings.
Recalling his party’s rule during the last five years, he said the PPP government neither intimidated nor put any political worker behind bars ever. “The protest and walkout of the opposition from the ongoing session will continue till action is taken against the police,” Shah added.
The PTI’s Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi pointed out the contradictions in government. “One brother orders to torture the PTI workers and other advises him to refrain from doing so,” he said, adding that it was a most unfortunate incident in a democratic setup.
Later all the opposition groups walked out and then returned after Zahid Hamid, Sheikh Aftab Ahmed and Riaz Pirzada went to bring the protesting members back.
The opposition members also protested against the absence of federal ministers during the question hour.
Source: The Express Tribune