ISLAMABAD  -   The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and its allies put up an impressive show to register their protest with the Senate on Monday against the arrest of party chief Shehbaz Sharif.

The PML-N walked out of the Senate when the chairman allowed Information Minister Fawad Hussain to speak on the arrest of PML-N president by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Lahore on Saturday.

Soon after the Senate resumed its proceedings, the opposition senators drew the chair’s attention to the Shehbaz arrest and sought discussion on the matter with the condition that the federal information minister would speak after their speeches.

They were of the view that Prime Minister Imran Khan resorted to political victimisation of the PML-N by using NAB as a tool.

Wearing black armbands, the PML-N members attended the session. On this, Leader of the House Senator Shibli Fraz asked Leader of Opposition Raja Zafarul Haq that this was not the way to carry forward agenda of the house.

Responding to this, Haq said opposition members would speak first on the arrest of Shehbaz. The chairman intervened by saying that the members from the treasury and the opposition should speak one after another.

Senator Javed Abbasi stood up and said this cannot be accepted, adding opposition members would speak first.

On this, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the opposition was trying to hide behind slogan of political victimisation to escape accountability.

The PML-N members and allies said that Shehbaz arrest is making the future of democracy questionable. They said no one is against accountability but the way being adopted is ‘not right’.

Raja Zafarul Haq said the way Shehbaz Sharif was arrested is disturbing for not only the PML-N but all democracy-loving parties and people.

Senator Javed Abbasi of PML-N said this is the second incident of the arrest of leader of the opposition in National Assembly during the last 40 years.

Senator Abdul Qayyum said this accountability process seems discriminatory.

Senator Maulana Ataur Rehman of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam said ruling party is hurling threats at the opposition. He said opposition cannot be cowed down with aggressive behaviour. Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq said such steps are detrimental to democracy.

The situation turned ugly when the information minister made remarks during the statement of Senator Sadia Abbasi from PML-N.

When the minister sought to clarify over the arrest of Shehbaz, all PML-N members stood up shouting they will not allow the information minister to speak until all the opposition members spoke first.

The chair gave go-ahead to the minister which prompted the PML-N lawmakers to stage a walkout followed by other members of opposition including the PPP.

Senator Sittara Jabeen from ANP repeatedly raised the question of quorum on which chairman adjourned proceedings for five minutes and later on counting, the house was found short of quorum and put off again for Wednesday.

The information minister kept on speaking, saying no derogatory language can be used against the security forces according to the constitution.

“Our armed forces have rendered a number of sacrifices for peace and stability in the country,” he said, adding that the corruption cases against PML-N leaders were filed in the tenure of last government and the incumbent government has nothing to do with them.