ISLAMABAD - The PML-N government in Thursday’s National Assembly session for the second consecutive day faced embarrassment due to absence of main treasury benches lawmakers while discussing report of the Committee on Fata Reforms.

The house also remained suspended for around an hour due to lack of quorum pointed out by PTI’s MNA Musrat Zeb. A large number of lawmakers from both sides of aisle did not attend the session.

Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah, at the fag end of proceedings, criticised the government for absence of MNAs in the house. “First lines are empty, which reflect the seriousness of government in proceedings,” he said, suggesting the chair to adjourn the house due to lack of seriousness of government.

Taking part in the debate on the report of the committee on Fata reforms, 2016, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the merger of Fata with KP was also proposed in the report. “There is operation going on in Fata so in such a situation decision of Islamabad and Peshawar needs not be imposed,” he said.

He also strongly criticised and condemned the use of word ‘rebellion’ in the report for tribal people. “Is this war against the tribal people or terrorists,” he said, mentioning that the repatriation of tribal people is continuing in a disgraceful way.

“It is difficult for tribal people to even visit other neighbouring villages,” he said, sharing the situation in conflicted region. “What is happening in Fata has reminded me the early British era. Tribesmen are also facing difficulties in their region like people in occupied Kashmir,” said JUI-F chief. Quoting Founder of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam, he said Jinnah had not changed the status of tribal areas. “Desired decisions are being made for tribal people,” he said 4.8 million population of tribal area is mentioned in the report without conducting census.

He said there was also presence of Taliban in some areas. “Every second shopkeepers are receiving veiled threats in Peshawar from extortionists,” he remarked. Mehmood Achakzai, without taking floor, mentioned in loud voice some shopkeepers in Islamabad were also facing threats of extortionists.

He was of the view that there were loopholes in agreement signed in PPP’s ara on this issue. “What would we call ‘Durand Line’, if we intend to merge Fata into KP,” he raised question.

Taking part in debate, MNA from Fata Ghalib Khan lauded the recommendations proposed in the report on Fata reforms. He also spoke in favour of constructing Kalabagh Dam in the country. Opposition Leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, who took the floor twice, said the incumbent government should focus on providing relief to masses. ”Pakistan was self-sufficient in wheat during PPP’ era,” said Shah. He said there was a need to give proper incentive to farmers for flourishing agriculture in the country.

“Agriculture is backbone of the economy and addressing problems of farmers is the responsibility of government,” he added.

Opposition leader also strongly criticised government’s prominent MNAs for not attending the National Assembly proceedings. “We (PPP) in its era provided relief to masses in all sectors,” he said, mentioning raise in salaries of government servants.