Govt-opposition row halts budget debate in NA

Islamabad

Islamabad:The budget debate in the National Assembly was halted due to the confrontation between the government and the opposition members as the latter agitated over the absence of foreign minister and sought clarification only from him on the issues of recognizing Israel or accepting India as non-permanent member of UNSC, observers Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) Daily Factsheet.

The House met for three hours and 49 minutes. The proceedings started at 1631 hours against the scheduled time of 1600 hours; however, it remained suspended for 49 minutes. The Speaker presided over the sitting for an hour and 56 minutes while rest of the proceedings was chaired by the Deputy Speaker. The Leader of the House (Prime Minister) and the Opposition Leader did not attend the sitting.

A total of 35 lawmakers (10%) were present at the outset and 24 (7%) at the adjournment of the sitting. As per SOPs, 46 lawmakers of the government and 40 members of the opposition parties would attend each sitting during the ongoing budget session while the overall attendance to be marked at the main gate of the National Assembly.

The parliamentary leaders of PML-N and PPPP attended the sitting. Four out of 10 minority lawmakers were also present during the proceedings. Three lawmakers including the Minister for Communications participated in the budget debate and spoke for two hours and 26 minutes. Three lawmakers including Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Communication spoke on points of order for 16 minutes.

The Chair suspended the proceedings after exchange of harsh words between the members from both sides of the aisle following a point of order raised by parliamentary leader of PML-N about diplomatic affairs. The proceedings resumed after 49 minutes when the Minister for Foreign Affairs came to the House to respond queries raised through point of order. The House was adjourned to meet again on June 17, 2020 (Wednesday) at 1100 hours.