Finance and opposition hold separate sessions amid political tensions

Finance and opposition hold separate sessions amid political tensions

Speaker of the Punjab Assembly reminds members of the need to maintain decorum


The Punjab Assembly witnessed unusual scenes on Saturday as members of the finance ministry and the opposition appeared to hold parallel sessions, criticising each other’s leadership and actions.

The opposition held its rallies outside the assembly after the entry of 11 of their MPAs was banned.

This action followed their appearance during a speech by Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz on June 28. Outside the meeting, the opposition meeting was chaired by Waqas Mahmood Maan.

The opposition passed several resolutions, including a demand for a judicial commission to investigate the May 9 riots and a provocative proposal to rename the Nawaz Sharif cardiology hospital.

They also challenged Speaker of Parliament Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan’s decision to deny entry of their MPAs. They claimed they would resign if it was found that they had used offensive language.

Within the Punjab Assembly, Speaker Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan presided over the session in which members of the Finance Ministry caused a stir when an opposition member started speaking about his austerity proposal.

Brig (retd) Mushtaq Ahmed, a PTI-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) member, demanded a headset but was taken away by the Finance lawmakers. He demanded that he speak without the headset.

Mushtaq Ahmed requested Chairman Khan to also ban Muhammad Ashraf Rasool of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), who had taken away the headphones.

The Speaker reminded them of the need to maintain decorum, which was ignored the previous day. This led to the opposition boycotting the session and leaving the House.

The PMLN lawmakers claimed that they were being lenient with the opposition, which was mistaken for weakness. Subsequently, the treasury passed over Rs. 11.94 trillion supplementary budget for 2023-24 in the absence of the opposition. Speaker Khan then prorogued the House indefinitely.