Slaps and scuffles overshadow budget
02 June, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Presentation of the federal budget for 2012-13 in the National Assembly on Friday was a rowdy mess when members from the ruling PPP and opposition PML-N scuffled and traded blows.
Although the opposition's protest was expected in view of strained relations between the two parties, the charged atmosphere pushed lawmakers towards a physical brawl.
Sloganeering by the PML-N members even made the speech of Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh inaudible, making Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and other members of the PPP put on headphones to listen to it. The PPP seemed prepared right from the beginning of the session to counter the PML-N, when it lined up its members in front of the finance minister as a shield. The PPP's strategy turned productive, as when some PML-N members tried to approach the minister, they were stopped and pushed back, which resulted in a brawl and trading of punches between the rivals.
PPP's Javed Iqbal Warraich even slapped Capt Safdar of the PML-N, who tried to reach the finance minister, triggering a fistfight between Warraich and some PML-N members, who rushed to rescue Safdar. An enraged Warraich even grabbed PML-N's Shakeel Awan and pushed him away when the latter attempted to approach Dr Hafeez. PPP's Humayun Aziz Kurd meted out the same treatment to PML-N's Salahuddin Dogar. Senior members of both parties intervened to pacify their colleagues, but all in vain. PPP members had also encircled Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Other opposition parties – the JUI-F and PPP-Sherpao –didn't join the protest and remained glued to their seats.
Meanwhile, the PML-N walked out from the Upper House of parliament when the budget was presented. Senate Chairman Nayyer Hussain Bokhari refused to give the floor to the PML-N's Zafar Ali Shah who wanted to speak on a point of order.
Opposition's unpleasant attitude makes painful day of history: Kaira
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira Friday termed the 1st June as the most painful day of the parliamentary history with reference to the unpleasant behaviour of the Opposition in National Assembly.
Talking to media outside the outside the Parliament House, he thrashed at the unpleasant attitude and behaviour of the Opposition in the National Assembly on the eve when budget for the fiscal year 2012-13 was represented by the Finance Minister.
He said that the mastermind of today's shameful protest was sitting behind the rear seats in the assembly. Kaira blamed that he is the same person, who was with former dictator Pervez Musharraf..
The minister said that people are watching the bad behaviour of the opposition, which would be further reckoned in the upcoming elections. He claimed that the opposition has no proposal, except creating problems and hurdles for the democratic government.
While criticizing on the PML-N, he said, "opposition want to derail democracy, however, we will not allow anyone to harm or derail democracy".
He applauded the efforts of Dr. Hafeez Sheikh's team in order to formulate the friendly budget and its proof is that the economic experts welcomed the budget.
Talking about the budget, he said that the budget presented for the fiscal year 2012-13 is according to our limited resources. However, "inflation rate has reduced, revenue collection has improved, deficit has reduced and economy doubled in our tenure", he remarked.
Commenting on Local Bodies polls, the information minister criticized the Punjab government over announcing LB polls on non-party basis which is the clear negation of the Charter of Democracy (CoD).
Moreover, Kaira claimed that PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif opposed the inclusion of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) in CoD.
PPP laid lives and shed blood for the restoration of democracy and it would continue its struggle for the people and democracy in the country.