ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly Deputy Speaker, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, on Wednesday strictly asked the federal ministers, the state ministers and the parliamentary secretaries to ensure their presence in the house especially during their ministry-related business.

“[The] federal minister[s], state ministers or parliamentary secretaries should be present in the house especially during business related to their ministries,” said Abbasi and adjourned the proceedings due to absence of ministers. 

The National Assembly has been witnessing lack of required strength especially absence of ministers for the last some sessions.

On Wednesday, the house was adjourned due to absence of federal and state ministers almost throughout the proceedings.

The deputy speaker said that the ministers or parliamentary secretaries on the day of their business in the house should take permission for leave from the speaker. “A strict ruling can be given due to this situation,” Abbasi added.

He also warned to ban entry in case the situation did not improve.

The house witnessed thin presence especially from treasury benches throughout the proceedings of the day.

Although the government side was able to manage quorum in the house, pointed out by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the deputy speaker adjourned the proceedings of the house on the request of opposition leader Syed Khurshid Shah.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab also expressed helplessness about the absence of ministers.

Aftab also shared a joke about the thin presence of ministers in the house.

Opposition leader Syed Khurshid Shah, while strongly criticising the government ministers for not attending the proceedings of the house said, “It’s better to adjourn the proceedings of the house, as opposition leader is managing quorum of the house.”

He said that there was no minister in the house except Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab.

“It is not good to run the proceedings of the house on point of order, so please adjourn the proceedings,” Shah said to convince the deputy speaker to adjourn the proceedings due to lack of strength.

PPP’s Nafeesa Shah also came down hard on government lawmakers for only ensuring their presence in party’s meeting and not attending the proceedings of the parliament.

“The presence of ministers was full at the GT Road show, at the party meeting at the Convention Centre but these ministers are not attending the parliamentary proceedings,” she said.

Nafeesa asked the chair to strictly reprimand the ministers to ensure their presence.

“Out of a cabinet of 54 ministers only two ministers are present in the house,” she said.

Independent MNA Jamshed Dasti, on point of order, asked the government to reveal the name of persons involved in the “conspiracy against democracy”.

“If anyone was involved in hatching a conspiracy then their name should be revealed,” he said.

Sheikh Aftab, while responding to calling attention notice, said that the incumbent government was making an effort to provide maximum relief to power consumers.

“Despite issues of pilferage and circular debt, the government is trying to provide maximum relief to the power consumers,” he said.

Aftab rejected reports that the power tariff would be increased by Rs3.9.

Minister for Housing and Works Akram Khan Durrani said that the development work on the first phase of Bhara Kahu housing project in the capital would start soon.