Opposition walks out of NA against torture of PTI workets
27 August, 2013
ISLAMABAD: All opposition parties on Monday staged a walkout from the National Assembly (NA) against what they called the "high-handedness" of Punjab Police to subject workers of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to severe torture in Lahore a couple of days ago.
At the onset, the NA session turned into a "protesting camp" of the opposition parties when lawmakers of PTI, Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami Muslim League rose from their seats by not allowing Deputy Speaker Mutaza Javed Abbasi to take up the question hour session despite his repeated calls to first dispose of it.
On being compelled by the opposition members, the deputy speaker set aside the question hour and gave floor to Shafqat Mahmood of PTI who termed the act of Punjab Police "undemocratic attitude" of Punjab government.
"The PML-N used to take out the rallies against Musharraf rule. But when PTI did the same now, it is met with severe action. What sort of discrepancy is it?" he said.
However, the statement of Federal Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir Affairs Barjis Tahir added fuel to the protest of opposition when he stated that if opposition wants to walk out, it should go with its plan and not make the House a "fish market".
Protesting strongly against the remarks of Barjis Tahir, Opposition Leader in the NA Syed Khursheed Shah dubbed the statement of minister "deplorable" and said that in such a situation, opposition has no option but to boycott the proceedings.
He recalled that during the five-year tenure of PPP government, the opposition was never subjected to intimidation and never any political worker or leader was put behind the bars.
Shah declared to continue protest and walkout from the session until action is not taken against the police officials involved in the torture of PTI workers.
PTI Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shah Mahmood Querashi pointed out the contradictions in government's stances "as one brother orders torture of the workers and the other advises him to refrain from doing so".
"The most unfortunate element is occurring of this incident in a democratic set up. If it had happened in dictatorial rule, it would have been comprehensible," he said.
Sheikh Rashid noted that action of the Punjab government reflected that the government is losing its nerves.
MQM's Asif Hasnain and JI's Sahizada Tariqullah also condemned the torture of PTI workers.
Later, all the opposition groups walked out from the session and returned to the House due to efforts of treasury members Zahid Hamid, Sheikh AFtab Ahmed and Riaz Peerzada.
State Minister for Privatisation Khurram Dastagir Khan, responding to a question, told the House that the present government is making efforts to bring fore the agreements and understanding which were in ambiguity especially about the drone attacks.
He said that since the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry last month, the drone strikes have considerably reduced. He explained that whatever happened in the past on drones was based on understandings between the then governments and US as no written agreement exists about it.
Later, the House began the debate on presidential election and Khursheed Shah, opening the debate, called upon the government to take such action that would instil courage in the masses to fight terrorism.
He also offered full cooperation of the opposition to tackle the menace of terrorism. He also said that NFC Award should be further reviewed to strengthen the federation further.