ISLAMABAD - Perhaps for the first time in parliamentary history, the National Assembly Speaker, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, on Tuesday staged a walkout from proceedings of the house over absence of Interior Ministry officials.

“I will not tolerate disrespect of parliament at any cost...So, I am staging [a] walkout from the proceedings,” said Speaker Sadiq, while strongly protesting over the absence of Interior Ministry officials in the visitors’ gallery.

The government officials usually sit in the visitors’ gallery during the parliamentary business related to their ministry.

The speaker said that he would continue staging walkouts until Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi gave him an undertaking. “Until written undertaking of [the] PM that such situation will not be repeated, I would come and stage walkout from the proceedings,” he said, and walked out from the house.

Deputy Speaker Abbasi, while chairing the session, also strongly criticised the “disrespect” to parliament by bureaucrats. “Tomorrow further strategy would be evolved, if this attitude is repeated,” the deputy speaker said.

Earlier, Ayaz Sadiq suspended the house for around half an hour over the absence of Interior Ministry officials during calling-attention notice.

The interior secretary through a message conveyed that he would appear in the house by 12:30pm.

Minister for Interior Ahsan Iqbal, State Minister Talal Chaudhary and parliamentary secretary were also not present in the house.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s MNAs also staged a walkout from the proceedings over the absence of the interior minister as they sought his respond to a calling-attention notice.

Ahsan Iqbal came to the house after around half an hour.

He, while responding to the calling-attention notice, said that there was no prejudiced policy against the Pashtun in the country. “We respect the sacrifices of [the] Pashtuns and there is no order for [a] discriminatory attitude with them,” the minister clarified.

He further said that necessary arrangements had been put in place at the Nadra offices so that Afghan refugees could not illegally get Pakistani citizenship.

“No measures were directed against the Pashtun population that has given innumerable sacrifices in the war on terror,” Iqbal said.

The PTI’s lawmakers passionately raised the issue of alleged discrimination against the Pashtuns across the country.

Earlier, three bills including The Compulsory Drug Test of Students Bill, The Prevention of Drugs in Educational Institutions bill and The National Commission for Persons with Disabilities Bill were tabled in the house.

 

 

Speaker in rare NA walkout