LAHORE - Accusing the government of victimizing political rival, Opposition staged a walkout from the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday to protest against Cabinet’s decision of not allowing extension in former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s stay abroad.

After protesting in the House, infuriated PML-N legislators gathered at the PA stairs to condemn the rulers for ‘doing politics on the health of ailing ex-PM’.  They chanted slogans against the ruling party and in favour of PML-N supreme leader.

Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz stayed away from the House but led the protesters at the PA stairs.  The session started two hours and five minutes behind the scheduled time Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi in the chair.  On the start of proceedings, PML-N’s Rana Muhammad Iqbal drew attention of the chair towards Cabinet decision on the issue of extension in Nawaz’s stay abroad for medical treatment. He lamented that the ruling party was doing politics on the health of a person who made defence of Pakistan impeccable by conduction nuclear explosions. Terming Nawaz Sharif hero of Muslim world, he prayed for complete recovery of health and early return to the country.

PML-N’s Samiullah Khan lamented that the government was victimizing the opponents instead of providing relief to the masses from sky-rocketing inflation, poor health and education facilities.  He said that emphasis of the rulers was on Nawaz Sharif’s non-admission in hospital to prove illness.

Accusing the rulers of lacking core human values, he recalled that they used to even mock the illness of late Begum Kulsoom Nawaz despite being admitted in the hospital. He said that PTI’s goons even attacked the hospital in London where Begum Kulsoom Nawaz was admitted. He said that even Prime Minister Imran Khan validated the veracity of Nawaz Sharif’s illness not just through Punjab government’s own medical board but his independent source of Dr Faisal Sultan from Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital.

PML-N’s Malik Ahmad Khan accused the government of raising unethical questions over the ailment of Nawaz Sharif, stating that the doctors didn’t advise to conduct PET scan due to his serious health conditions.

He said that such procedures which may endanger the life of Nawaz Sharif could not be performed just to satisfy the government. Rejecting accusations of political victimisation, Law Minister Raja Basharat said that the government had acted within the legal framework. Islamabad High Court, he said, had authorized Punjab government to review the extension in bail period.

Following IHC’s grant of a bail for eight weeks, he said, the government extended period for another eight weeks. “But still there’s no clear roadmap of Nawaz Sharif’s treatment,” he said, adding, that Dr Adnan Khan had failed to satisfy the Medical Board despite giving him opportunity three times. He said that the physician expressed his inability to provide further information on Medical Board’s seven pertinent questions, claiming the earlier submitted medical reports as “conclusive”. Dr Adnan Khan was taken on Skype in the presence of head of medical board, he said, but the physician failed to provide the required details.

He said that Dr Adnan categorically denied lining up the patient for cardiac procedure. “It also exposed contradiction in the viewpoints of PML-N and the medical team”, he said, adding, Rana Sanaullah had claimed Nawaz Sharif having been lined up for cardiac procedure on February 24.

He said that Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif had remained Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Punjab three times each respectively, but there was not a single precedent during their entire rule where a prisoner was allowed to travel abroad for treatment.

He said that the government was answerable to the masses and as such could not arbitrarily extend the bail period for indefinite period. He said that the PML-N could approach courts against the cabinet decision. Unsatisfied over the reply of the Law Minister, the Opposition staged a walkout from the House.

In the absence of the Opposition, Treasury legislator Khadija Umar introduced Green International University Bill 2020 which was forwarded to the relevant committee for submitting report within two months.

The House also passed a resolution commending Pakistan Kabadi team for winning the world cup. The resolution demanded giving awards to winning team members like the previous practice of honoring cricketers.  On completion of agenda, the chair prorogued the session.