The National Assembly budget session on Friday started in chaos as PTI MNAs created a ruckus while former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf tried to address the assembly.
Initially, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser adjourned proceedings for ten minutes. However, the chaos persisted even after the proceedings resumed, forcing the speaker to adjourn the session till 2pm.
When the point of order for the session was announced, PPP protested against the non-issuance of former president Asif Ali Zardari’s production orders, who was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Monday.
The speaker asked Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif to begin his address.
Sharif said that Ashraf wanted to say something and he should be given the time to speak.
Taking the floor, the PPP leader brought up the production orders of Zardari.
“Currently Asif Ali Zardari is present in Islamabad at a distance of three minutes. He is a former president [and] his absence in this important session of the house and the non-issuance of his production orders will not be considered a good tradition in this house,” said Ashraf.
On Thursday, a three-member opposition delegation called on the NA speaker at the latter’s official residence to make a formal demand for issuance of production orders for four arrested MNAs, including Zardari, to allow them to attend the ongoing budget session.
The opposition members — Syed Khursheed Shah and Senator Raza Rabbani of the PPP and Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed of the PML-N — had urged the speaker to issue the production order for Zardari so that he could represent the people of his Nawabshah constituency during the debate on the federal budget.
Later, an official handout was issued by the NA Secretariat quoting Qaiser as saying that he was cognisant of his responsibilities and was playing his constitutional role.
The speaker had said that he was the custodian of the house and all the members were being treated with equality. He said the PPP and the PML-N members had requested him to issue the production order for Zardari.