ISLAMABAD - To the ‘pleasant surprise’ of the Parliamentarians in the Upper House Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif finally landed in the Senate and mingled up with those lawmakers who have been protesting against his not turning up in the house for almost a year.

In his first appearance in the Senate after Prime Minister took oath of his office in June last year, the premier only chose to speak shortly after the Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari gave him the floor. The opposition senators, the other day, had boycotted the joint sitting of the Parliament as a protest against the continuous absence of the Prime Minister from Senate.

“I have great respect for the House,” said the PM. He in a lighter tone said that Leader of the Opposition in the House Aitzaz Ahsan and PPP leader Mian Raza Rabbani were looking sad and perhaps “we have been missing each other”. He said that he would try to come in the House and he had great respect for Senate as it had been playing a useful role.

Aitzaz in his remarks welcomed the Prime Minister for his arrival in the Senate and said, “We were worried and had curiosity that Prime Minister in a year had not come in the House and we have been waiting for you.” He also congratulated finance minister Ishaq Dar for presenting the annual budget. Ahsan complained to the premier pointing towards interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and said that some ministers should be bound to come in the House. “Many questions arise here like Prime Minister’s visit to India, talks with Taliban and loadshedding,” he said adding that these have to be answered by ministries but some of them were angry with the Senate. Senator Talha Mahmood of JUI-F also welcomed the Prime Minister besides other MPs of different parliamentary parties including Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of MQM and Afrasiab Khattak of ANP.

Earlier, Ishaq Dar laid before the Senate a copy of the finance bill 2014 containing the Annual Budget statement for making recommendations on it by the House to the National Assembly. The chair asked the lawmakers to give their recommendations to the Senate Secretariat till June 6. The Senate Standing Committee on Finance will give its recommendations on it within 10 days, said the chairman. The House will start the debate on the bill from June 6.

As the session started, Deputy Chairman Senate Sabir Baloch on a point of order said that contrary to the parliamentary traditions, President Mamnoon Hussain in his address to the joint sitting of the Parliament did not mention the name of his predecessor and co-chairman PPP Asif Ali Zaradri who had great sacrifices for this country. Robina Irfan, PML-Q legislator from Balochistan objected that President did not mention the name of Balochistan in his speech after the chair remarked that this could be discussed during the discussion on presidential address.