ISLAMABAD - The government and opposition on the last day of budget session Saturday agreed to conduct debate on foreign affairs, agriculture, water crisis and economic crisis in the country in the upcoming sessions of National Assembly.

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, speaking on supplementary grants, proposed the chair to conduct a full-fledged debate in the National Assembly on foreign affairs. “The threadbare debate on foreign affairs for three to four days will prove fruitful for the country,” he said.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from PML-N floated an idea to conduct debate on economic issues of the country in the National Assembly.

Agreeing to the suggestion from opposition party, Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the government side is agreed to hold debate on this matter.

Govt asks Bilawal to apologise for making ‘insulting’ remarks against Speaker

“In a cordial atmosphere, both sides of the aisle can hold debate on all important matters,” he said lauding the chair for running the long hours proceedings smoothly. About debate on economy, he was of the view that the house was conducting debate on economy for the last one month in connection with finance bill 2019-20. He said there should be bipartisan approach on the foreign policy. He said this time the house held unprecedented discussion on the budget and the economy. The Speaker National Assembly also ensured to support the idea of holding discussion on the economy, foreign policy, water and the agriculture.

MEMBERS ON PRODUCTION ORDERS

The chair (Munazza Hassan — presiding over the sitting in the absence of speaker and deputy speaker) asked both the members attending the proceedings of the house to ensure presence in the house. The chair repeatedly asked the part members of both the lawmakers Asif Ali Zardari and Khwaja Saad Rafique to attend the proceedings. “Those attending on production order should attend the proceedings...They are here to attend the proceedings,” mentioned the chair in her ruling.

PPP-P’s Nafeesa Shah, soon after the ruling from the chair, pointed out lack of quorum in the house but the required strength (86 MNAs) were present in the house. PML-N’s Khwaja Saad Rafique, after around ten minutes, entered the house. The joint opposition, after mutual consultation, preferred to leave the house without announcing its protest.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the chair had issued production orders of the arrested members on the request of opposition. “The Speaker National Assembly issued production order and now they should attend the proceedings,” he said mentioning that the opposition members were not attending the house, which shows their seriousness.

NA APPROVES SUPPLEMNETARY

 DEMANDS FOR GRANTS

The house approved supplementary demands for grants relating to different ministries and departments for the outgoing fiscal years.

Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Hammad Azhar said the government has substantially brought down the supplementary demands for grants. Last year, these stood at 599.4 billion rupees while this year they stand at about two hundred billion rupees.

Whereas, the opposition members criticised the government’s economic policies saying these have resulted in price hike in the country. They rejected raised objection over the increased expenditures of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in the past year.

The house also witnessed rumpus when opposition members pointed out quorum in the house. The chair asked the senior MNAs from both sides - Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ch Fawad Hussain - to avoid making video from cell-phones.

GOVT MOVES MOTION AGAINST

BILAWAL

The lawmakers from treasury benches in the absence of opposition also passed a resolution condemning PPP-P Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for allegedly using insulting remarks against the speaker. They demanded PPP chairman to apologise for using such remarks.