ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly on the first day of new year [2020] saw verbal brawls and exchange of heated remarks between the government and the opposition on various matters especially unavailability of the natural gas in parts of the country.

The house with thin presence of lawmakers started with the criticism from opposition on haphazardly summoning the National Assembly session.

The opposition parties, on a call-attention notice, strongly came down hard on the PTI government over the loadshedding of natural gas in different parts of the country.

Terming it a worst gas shortage crisis in the country, the opposition held the government responsible for the current gas shortage in the country because of its alleged inability to handle things. However, the government side is confident to overcome the crisis-like situation within a month. “The gas shortage crisis will be cleared in a month,” said Minister for Energy Omar Ayub, blaming the previous governments for their alleged zero performance in the exploration of gas resources. The population has been increasing rapidly but the previous governments did not make effective measures for the gas exploration and cultivating new resources, the minister added.

He said that the PTI government has proved how to control loadshedding of electricity in the country. The previous government had not made any planning to avoid shortage of natural gas in future.

Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri also put weight behind the opposition arguments, saying there is gas load-shedding in Quetta.

The discussion took a new turn when the minister talked about equal distribution of resources. He said every citizen of a country has equal right on the resources in any part of the country. The opposition termed this argument a violation of the article-58 of the Constitution.

PPP-P’s Shazia Marri said that the minister should respect the Constitution of the country and avoid giving such statements.

PPP-P’s Naveed Qamar also strongly opposed the statement of the minister.

PPP-P’s Agha Rafi Ullah said that there was no gas supply in the country. “Why the minister is not accepting the reality, as there is no gas supply in the country,” he said.

About the summoning the NA session on a short notice, the opposition strongly criticized the government and termed it against the spirit of parliament. “Summoning the session of national assembly on a short notice is the concern of all the MNAs,” said Naveed Qamar.

PML-N’s parliamentary leader Khwaja Asif said Prime Minister Imran Khan hardly attended any session of national assembly in the year 2019. “It was the PM’s plan to give response to opposition on every Wednesday during the Question-Hour, but he [Prime Minister] did not appear in last year,” he said.

PML-N’s Rana Tanvir said that this government has given a gift of price-hike in the country. “The recent increase in price of petroleum is one of the examples of its performance,” he said. Minister for Communication Murad Saeed said that the opposition had created hurdles when the prime minister was intending to appear in the Question-Hour.

Minister for of States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Shehryar Afridi had also faced severe criticism from opposition benches.

The opposition members passed heated remarks when he was giving reply to a question related to the merger of FATA.

He said that he would give reply of all the questions on their questions on a particular matter [Bail of MNA Rana Sana Ullah].

About the non-implementation on FATA reforms, he said his ministry had no more role in this affair after the merger of erstwhile FATA.