ISLAMABAD         -         Opposition in Friday’s national assembly sought explanation from PTI’s government over the recent statement of prime minister about contemplation of government to charge JUI-F chief Mualna Fazal Ur Rahman under article-6 of the country’s constitution that deals with sedition.

The house, with the thin presence of lawmakers from both sides of aisle, echoed with slogans of ‘shame-shame’ chanted by opposition members over the absence of ministers and recent statement of prime minister about JUI-F chief.

Strongly reacting to the statement, PPP-P’s Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, PML-N’s parliamentary leader Khawaja Muhammad Asif, and JUI-F’s Mualana Asad Mahmood asked government to explain its motive behind the statement about article-6.

JUI-F Maulana Asad Mahmood, on point of order, said that the government has adopted cheap tactics to malign opposition. “Our forefathers had role in making the constitution of the country,” he said mentioning that they would tolerate all difficulties but not allow anyone to distort constitution. He sought explanation from government over the statement of prime minister about his (Asad Mahmood’s) father (JUI-F chief Maulana Fazal Ur Rahman). He also challenged the PTI government to try Maulana Fazal Ur Rahman under article 6 of the constitution. “I welcome statement of the selected prime minister and demand him on floor of the house to file a case against the JUI-F chief,” he said.

He questioned as to who would hold Imran Khan answerable for using objectionable language against the state institutions during his visit to Iran and the United States. “The article-6 should be applied on the person who became approver against our state institutions,” he said.

PML-N’s parliamentary leader Khawaja Muhammad Asif came down hard on government over the statement of prime minister on article-6. “What do you [Government] want to do with state,” he asked while alleging that real culprits behind the shortage of flour and sugar were in the ranks of government itself. “There is need to apply article-6 against those involved in attacking on PTV and parliament,” he said.

PPP-P’ chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said it would be unbecoming on the part of government if such kind of cases was made against political opponents. Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that sit-in and protest was a right of the religio-political party (JUI-F). “Maulana Fazal Ur Rahman may stage sit-in for a year of so, but should clarify his statement regarding any assurance to topple the government,” he maintained.

He said the government came to power after making promises with the people but Maulana Fazal Ur Rahman should tell on whose assurance he ended his sit-in and left Islamabad.

He said that father and grandfather of the PM were also present in the public meeting where the Pakistan Resolution was passed. He said it was democratic right of Maulana Fazal Ur Rahman to protest. Government did not plan to victimize anyone, Ali said.

Earlier, the house was informed that due to prudent economic policies of the government exports have increased over three percent. Parliamentary secretary for commerce, industries and production Aliya Hamza Malik, responding to a question, said that after gaining the status of GSP+ Pakistan’s total trade to EU has increased from 11,960 to 14,158million US dollars.

Answering a question regarding suspension of trade with India, she said since unilateral action of India in occupied Kashmir, Pakistan has suspended imports from India. She said products regulated by Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) are excluded from the trade suspension.

The parliamentary secretary categorically clarified that ministry of commerce had not signed any agreement with India with respect to export of salt. She said Pakistan has gained immediate market access on 313 items of its prime export interest after China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement.