PESHAWAR - Parliament is not a place of worship where one goes and listens to a preacher and leaves without asking a question, but rather it is a forum where people’s issues are discussed and debated by their representatives, and if the very representatives are prevented from speaking or denied the floor, they may turn to or employ bizarre tactics.

Something unusual was witnessed in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday, when a dissident lawmaker of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf resorted to ear-piercing whistling during the session, demanding the government to release funds to his constituency under the head of oil and gas royalty, forcing the chair to adjourn the sitting after the deputy speaker failed to stop the lawmaker from honking.

Former provincial minister for sports and now a PTI dissident Amjid Afridi, who hails from district Kohat, stood up during the question-hour session and took out a ‘traffic police whistle’ to record his protest against the provincial government for not releasing funds to his home district under the head of oil and gas royalty.

After a break of about three weeks, the KP Assembly met with Deputy Speaker Dr Meher Taj Roghani in the chair. Afridi alleged that some seven months back, he had recorded his protest on the floor of the House by raising the issue of oil and gas royalty particularly the non-release of the share of his district.

He maintained that at that time, the chair had ruled to release the funds, but it had not happened yet which was in contrast to the slogan of change raised by the PTI. Having a whistle in his pocket, the MPA started full throat ‘whistling’ and the ebb and flow of the shriek kept almost everyone present in the House on their toes and curious.

The chair time and again asked Afridi not to do that, but he continued making it impossible for the chair to hear the members speaking on their turn.

As long as the chair spoke and offered the floor to the members, Afridi left no stone unturned in making his presence felt by whistling loudly and constantly.  At one stage, Provincial Minister for Law Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi, who also hails from district Kohat, tried his level best to speak, however, the ear-piercing whistling made it impossible to happen. The deputy speaker said that she had never seen such a ‘drama’ in her whole life.

The indifferent Afridi continued whistling for minutes with intermittent shouting, “How can the PTI bring change by stopping funds to the lawmakers”.

At this stage, the combined opposition also joined Afridi in his protest, demanding to give the mic to the protesting legislator to raise his voice.

The chair, instead, adjourned the proceedings till 3 pm Tuesday (today).

Later, Afridi said that the provincial government had failed to release even a single penny out of Rs2.4 billion in oil and gas royalty for the Kohat division, which he termed unfortunate. He said that of the total Rs2.4 billion, the provincial government has so far released only Rs560 million. He accused Chief Minister Pervez Khattak of releasing funds only to his adviser Zia Ullah Bangash, depriving the people of his constituency of their due right. He said that the PTI’s slogan of change was nothing but a political gimmick.