Pakistan: Opposition in Punjab Assembly holds its own session, pledge not to accept Maryam Nawaz as CM

World Monday 01/July/2024 10:18 AM
Pakistan: Opposition in Punjab Assembly holds its own session, pledge not to accept Maryam Nawaz as CM

Islamabad : Amid rising tensions with the treasury, the opposition in the Punjab Assembly held its session on Saturday, pledging not to accept Maryam Nawaz as the Chief Minister, calling her "fake Form-47" even as the speaker suspended all its leaders, Pakistan-based Dawn reported.

Opposition lawmakers from the PTI (Sunni Ittehad Council) and ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmakers have been at loggerheads after 11 opposition members were suspended for 15 sittings due to "rowdyism" during Punjab CM Maryam Nawaz's address on Friday.

The situation escalated after the government stripped the perks and privileges of opposition leader Malik Ahmad Khan Bhachar and closed his chamber in the assembly, according to Dawn report.

A heavy contingent of police and a prisoner van were deployed outside the Punjab Assembly as the session commenced on Saturday, with orders to stop the 11 suspended lawmakers from entering.

Offering support to the suspended lawmakers, the opposition lawmakers held their own session outside the assembly gate and made remarks against Maryam Nawaz and PML-N leadership.

While addressing the charged Members of the Provincial Assembly, Ahmad Khan Bhachar said, "The government wants to silence us through civil dictatorship, but we will never accept fake Form-47 CM Maryam Nawaz." At the time of his speech, the PTI lawmakers shouted slogans like "mandate thieves" and accused Maryam Nawaz's father and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, of corruption.

The PTI lawmakers also moved a privilege motion against Punjab Assembly Speaker Malik Ahmad Khan for "submitting to CM Maryam's pressure" to suspend opposition members. PTI lawmaker Sheikh Imtiaz even presented a resolution, calling for a change in the name of the Nawaz Sharif Cardiology Hospital.

Member of Provincial Assembly Mohammad Naeem said it was the first time in Pakistan's history that the government had closed the chamber of opposition leader, as per the Dawn report.

During the proceedings in the House, Punjab Assembly Speaker Malik Ahmad Khan proceeded with the budget 2024-25 debate. Around 10 to 12 opposition members, led by Rana Aftab, entered the House to participate in the proceedings. However, after Aftab got up from his seat to speak on the matter, the treasury members paid him in the same coin.

Aftab then requested the chair to take action against treasury members involved in rowdy behaviour, questioning whether they too would face suspension. Later, the opposition members walked out of the House, Dawn reported.

Punjab's Information Minister Azma Bukhari, who spearheaded the treasury protest against the opposition, said that opposition members would not be allowed to speak if the leader of the House's speech was interrupted by the opposition. The House passed the budget and the speaker adjourned the proceedings indefinitely.