ISLAMABAD - Three days back when a mini-cyclone had ripped through Peshawar valley leaving over 40 dead besides injuring over 200 others, National Assembly on Wednesday prorogued its business with lawmakers crying for funds than taking note of the natural disasters playing havoc in and outside the country.
The tornado in Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda and Nowshera districts on April 27 has been categorized by Pakistan’s Meteorological Department as the third worst in the country’s history as the wind speed was recorded at 110 kilometer per hour flattening everything that stood tall in its way.
But lawmakers in National Assembly particularly the opposition benches did not spare a word to follow up the complaint of Aftab Sherpao who narrated the ordeal of the affected people in Charsadda and its surroundings.
Instead, the opposition members including PTI’s lawmakers staged a walkout of the house led by Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah demanding allocation of uplift funds for other MNAs at par with ruling party members.
In fact the walkout of opposition entered its third day on Wednesday for pressing the treasury benches to enhance development funds of opposition members to Rs50 million from the current Rs20 million.
Sherpao while taking the floor urged the government to restore electricity supply to areas hit hard by the cyclone complaining that the electricity poles uprooted by the powerful storm were still lying on ground depicting inaction of the government.
As Sherpao who belongs to Charsadda district kept on sharing the ordeals of storm-affected people, Khurshid Shah was so anxious to take the floor by waving hands that prompted Deputy Speaker Murtaza Abbasi to give floor to the PPP’s stalwart though Sherpao had not yet wound up his speech.
“Give us our funds. Development funds are meant equal for each MNA. Either jack up our MNA funds to Rs50 million or we would surrender Rs20 million. We don’t need the meager amount,” Shah started his speech looking firm in his demand.
His demand was so appealing that the house of 342 members looked deserted as he led the walkout . Some women MNAs of the ruling party also joined him including PTI’s lawmakers.
But before leaving the house, the Opposition Leader left a message for members not to point out quorum in the lower house arguing the business of house should continue. “Walkouts are part of the business but one should not point out lack of members,” he said and then led the walkout .
Minister for Climate Change, Mushahidullah Khan who as minister concerned should have taken the floor in order to sensitize the government about the climate change but he opted to keep quiet. Recently, the minister had complained that his ministry during fiscal year 2014-15 had got only Rs15 million allocation.
Interestingly, Haji Ghulam Bilour, the nationalist ANP leader, took the floor only to say that Pashtuns in Punjab are meted out discriminatory treatment accusing Punjab police of taking bribes from Pashtun population in the province.
But Ghulam Bilour did not utter a word to speak for the cyclone-hit people that currently go through a trauma-like situation in his native Peshawar valley. Soon, the house posed a deserted look after Atab Sherpao too joined the angry opposition crying for funds as the demand of Khurshid Shah was not only logical but lucrative too.
Despite that the house witnessed few lawmakers after the walkout yet the situation was ideal for Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning and Development, to give full marks to his ruling party without any fear of interruption as he discussed the multi-billion dollars Pak-China Economic Corridor.