ISLAMABAD - Ahead of the general elections’ showdown, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz tested their physical strength as lawmakers tried to grab each by the throat during the budget speech.

Fists, heavy sloganeering and exchange of heated remarks even abuses were part of the rumpus witnessed during the proceedings.

The Lower House of the Parliament was turned into a wrestling ring with the PML-N MNAs struggling to block attempts to disrupt Miftah Ismail’s budget speech.

The soaring tensions between Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz over multiple issues reached a violent culmination during the first day of budget session (Friday), as the lawmakers from both sides tried to throw punches on the faces of each other at the floor of the parliament.

Except PTI MNAs and some independent MNAs, rest of the opposition parties members were seen staging peaceful protest. The PTI and independent MNAs, after opposition leader’s announcement of staying away from budget speech, gathered around the Speaker’s podium.

They raised heavy slogans, including ‘Jhota Budget na manzor’ (Fake Budget not accepted), ‘Parliament ko Izat dou’ (Give respect to parliament) etc.   They were also seen tearing the copies of budget speech and threw into the air. The pieces of budget speech also hit some of the front row’s lawmakers, including finance minister several times.

Seemingly unsatisfied with their protest, after observing the confident posture of Miftah Ismail, they moved towards the front row shouting the slogans. In order to block any attempt to disturb finance minister, some of the treasury benches MNAs gathered around him to protect him. Some MNAs, including Hamidul Haq, Murad Saeed, Shireen Mazari, Amir Dogar, Jamshed Dasti and other were seen too close the front row.

PTI’s Shireen Mazari was the only female opposition MNA, who repeatedly passed remarks with her full voice against the budgetary proposals. Minister for Defence Production Rana Tanvir and some other were seen requesting Mazari not to interrupt with her slogans ‘Jhot-Jhot’ (Lie). Abid Sher Ali and Shireen Mazari were also briefly seen exchanging hot words.

In the presence of the Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the political rivals mainly Abid Sher Ali and Murad Saeed pushed each other and made attempts to smack punches. Other senior lawmakers from both the sides rushed to the scene to cool down the temperature by pushing their party’s colleagues towards back benches. Both Murad Saeed and Abid Sher Ali were also seen trying to grab each, in the middle of the speech, shouting hot remarks against each. The hullaballoo continued for almost 20 minutes as Murad Saeed, Amjad Ali Khan, Abid Sher Ali and some other could be seen trying to throw punches at their opponents. Later, the PTI’ MNAs left the house chanting the slogans.

The peaceful atmosphere, in absence of opposition mainly PTI, provided a chance to easily complete his 57-page long Urdu speech. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and senior MNA Ch.Nisar sat calms even in the middle of ugly scenes.

 

JAVAID-UR-RAHMAN