ISLAMABAD - Treasury and opposition benches in National Assembly seemed to have dragged their heels as opposition lawmakers once again boycotted the house proceedings on Monday with a veiled threat by a party of cutting the gas supply from Sindh if the persistent load-shedding was not controlled.

The opposition side, like its previous four days practice, after a critical speech by Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah against the government boycotted the rest of the proceedings.

The opposition, for not broadcasting speeches of opposition lawmakers, live on state-run television, staged a walkout from the House on Monday.

Unlike the previous sittings, the opposition lawmakers did not raise anti-government slogans and silently preferred to stay away from the House. However, a failed attempt was made by the opposition benches to disrupt the proceedings but the required strength was present in the House.

Minister Defence Production Rana Tanvir was not much polite in his response to opposition leader’s criticism before making a request to the opposition to become part of budgetary proceedings. “Khursheed Shah has the thinking to persuade the people for adopting a rebellion approach... We (the government) still request the opposition to participate in the proceedings,” said a minister in response to the speech of the opposition leader.

About power outages, he said the country has recently witnessed a record generation of electricity. “Nobody has stopped the opposition to make its point of view in the House. You are giving threats on various issues including cutting the gas supply,” Tanvir said. “There is no need to talk about cutting the gas supply,” he said challenging for a debate about the electricity theft ratio in Punjab and Sindh.

Tanvir while criticising the opposition’s novel style of protest, remarked that this was unfair to boycott the proceedings after the speech of the opposition leader.

“You (Khursheed Shah) talk about strengthening democracy but you damage it with your acts (boycotts),” said the minister mentioning that this practice could not help uphold the sanctity of parliament. He also criticised the PPP and the PTI leaders for making derogatory remarks in the past.

“If opposition members are sincere in resolving the problems, they should participate in the parliamentary proceedings to chalk out a proper strategy,” he said.

Opposition leader Shah, with the outset of proceedings, termed it “a budget of a mindset”. “This is not a national budget at all but a budget of a mindset,” he said.

He feared that the circumstances were pointing towards a clash of institutions. “We are moving towards the past,” said the opposition leader asking the government to take care of country’s integrity.

About load-shedding, he said that there was no need to give a title of ‘thief’ to any province or city. “This is a dangerous game. Tomorrow, Sindh might opt to cut off the gas supply,” he said asking the government not to force the province for a reaction.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had also warned, a few weeks back, the Centre to give the natural gas share to his province, otherwise, the supply to the rest of the country will be cut off. He had issued the warning in the provincial assembly.

About Nehal Hashmi’s recent statement, Shah said that it might not be acceptable for anyone that he (Nehal) threatened the institutions by his own.

He asked the government to allow the opposition to speak in the House on the budget. “We (opposition) will not participate till the government accepts our demands,” he said and left the House with all opposition lawmakers.

The treasury lawmakers, in the absence of the opposition benches, made their speeches and criticised the opposition for not participating in the proceedings.

Iftikhar Ahmed Cheema, Shezra Mansab Ali, Mian Abdul Mannan and Khalil George made speeches in the favour of the budgetary proposals. They said that allocations for development projects will bring prosperity in the country and improve the living standard of the common man.