ISLAMABAD - Contrary to the expected hue and cry that is the hallmark of budget session, the otherwise noisy opposition in National Assembly was unexpectedly calm on Tuesday helping Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to present the budget document in the lower house without interruption.

The long budget speech of the finance minister was interrupted by nobody in National Assembly except MNA Jamshaid Dasti, who termed the budget anti-poor but his noise was diluted by the thumping of desks by ruling PML-N members.

Mr Dasti who claims to be representing under privileged class in National Assembly once again tried to ask something about budget but this time he was silenced by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq who warned to resort to harsh disciplinary measures in case the lawmaker continued to interfere during the budget speech.

Lawmakers of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had preferred to stay in Karachi following the arrest reports of Hussain in London on charges of money laundering while PTI Chief Imran Khan was out for election campaign in Haripur.

Even Khurshid Shah, Opposition Leader in National Assembly was tight-lipped and was observed going through the written budget document though he was expected to make some noise in wake of the arrest warrants of his senior party leaders issue by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) just three days back.

The seat of Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan was mysteriously vacant though he had attended the Cabinet Meeting held earlier and his seat was occupied by Mr Dar that also confused staff of National Assembly who approached the finance minister requesting him to deliver the speech from his specified seat as it would become part of the record.

The only opposition member that was heard lambasting the budget for being anti-poor was MNA Sheikh Rashid who had preferred Parliament cafeteria for venting anger at the government where few journalists joined him for a cup of tea.

When Information Secretary PTI Sherin Mazari was asked as to why Imran Khan had been missing from National Assembly on this important day, she said Khan was in Haripur for garnering support for his candidate in the by-elections. “We will definitely give tough time to the government during debate on budget. The figures presented by Finance Minister in his speech were in contrast with the ground realities. We have too many reservations,” she told The Nation.

The unusual calm in National Assembly on such important day was also noticed by media persons in the press gallery who were of the view that the tsunami-trumpeting PTI was more noisy in streets than in the lower house where it was supposed to grill the government on logical issues.

“I remember opposition would tear apart budget papers on this day. There used to be noisy environment in National Assembly. But this session is quite unique in a sense that there is more noise in press gallery than in the lower house,” Ali Hussain, a journalist who has covered a dozen budget sessions, remarked. Sharjil Mir, president Rawalpindi Traders Union who attended the session said the budget was not up to the expectations of common people, however, he was satisfied that the government had not imposed any new taxes on food items.