ISLAMABAD - The combined opposition in the National Assembly yesterday continued its walkout for the second consecutive day against recently imposed Rs40 billion new taxes and alleged attempt to privatize PIA.

The opposition rejected the policy statement of Ishaq Dar that the new taxes were aimed to impose taxes on luxury items only used by the elite class.

However, opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah accepted the proposal floated by Speaker Iyaz Sadiq to sit with government’s representatives to resolve it.

Shah, on point of order, said the government side should have taken parliament into confidence before privatization of PIA. “Now, it’s not meaningful to sit here so the combined opposition is staging walkout,” he said and left the house with other opposition parties - PTI, PTI, MQM, PML-Q and AML.

Shah criticizing the government for imposing new taxes also presented a proposal to bring four budgets in a year. “Such ordinances are painful after the yearly budget...so, I am giving this proposal to the government,” he said.

The opposition leader said that the violation of the constitution should be avoided. “If the government wants to make such kind of exercises then it should remove both articles 75 and 87,” he said while speaking against the SROs culture.

He said the PPP government had tackled the natural calamities, disasters and worsening law and order situation. “The government should respect the parliament and ensure presence in the house...there is a need to strengthen federation,” he said in an emotional tone.

The house during the proceeding of the house was suspended for five minutes due to the lack of quorum, which was pointed out by PTI’s Hamidul Haq.

Minister for Kashmir Affairs Barjees Tahir, on a motion regarding Kashmir policy, remarked that both the nuclear powers - India and Pakistan - need to resolve the issue through reconciliation. “Dialogue between India and Pakistan could not be fruitful unless Kashmir issue was included in it,” said the minister adding that the Prime Minister has thrice raised this matter on international forum.

“PM Nawaz Sharif has raised voice on this matter in UN general assembly...There is no compromise on this matter,” he said, stressing the need for early resolution of the issue to lead the region towards better and peaceful future.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed said the peace in the region is difficult without resolving the issue of Kashmir. “Kashmir issue needs to be resolved with reconciliation...it is a top priority matter of Pakistan,” he said, adding that Special Kashmir Committee led by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rahman is also working on Kashmir cause. “We are vigilant to resolve this matter,” he added.

Taking part in discussion, PkMAP chief Mehmood Achakzai said it is a most sensitive matter of foreign policy. “Kashmir belongs to people of Kashmir,” he added.

Ghulam Muhammad from treasury benches said that the Prime Minister should gather Muslim Ummah on one platform.

Major (R) Tahir Iqbal from government benches said that big countries including US and UK need to play their role to resolve this matter. “The war between two countries could become world war so it needs to be resolved,” he feared. Naeema Kishwar from JUI-F said that world powers should take step to resolve this issue amicably.

Responding to a call-attention notice about non-availability of facilities in all hospitals in Islamabad, Parliamentary Secretary for Cabinet Secretariat Raja Javed Ikhlas assured that waste of public sector hospitals is being disposed of properly. “Measures are being taken to provide a clean environment to the federal capital,” he added.

Earlier, five private members bills “The Right to free and Compulsory Physical Education and Training Bill, 2015”, “The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 2015”, “The Right to Compulsory Education and Training in the field of Information Technology Bill, 2015”, “The Pakistan Army (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015” and “The National Commission for Minority Education Bill, 2015”

Responding to the motion moved in the house, Shaikh Aftab informed that a code of conduct for media has been prepared. “New chairman PEMRA would implement it,” he said winding up discussion on the situation arising out of the non-existence of code of conduct for media.