ISLAMABAD - The joint opposition in Monday’s Na­tional Assembly demanded the speak­er to immediately issue production orders of arrested PPP-P Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to express viewpoint in the budget session starting from to­day [Tuesday].

The house, with the onset of the pro­ceedings, saw uproar over the arrest of Asif Ali Zardari as PPP-P’s members demanding ‘production order’ former president Asif Ali Zardari asked the government to give a response over the arrest of their party’s co-chairman.

The government side, however, clar­ified it has ‘nothing to do’ with high court’s order and National Account­ability Bureau is an independent insti­tution to take its action.

The house witnessed eventful day as opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif after the gap of couple of months attended the proceedings of National Assembly. The PPP-P lawmakers staged a strong protest and also walked out from the proceedings for ten minutes.

PPP-P’s MNAs have also submitted application in National Assembly Sec­retariat requesting Speaker NA Asad Qaiser to issue production order of PPP-P co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari for budget session. The budget session will start today [Tuesday] to continue for over two weeks.

On Monday, the situation turned messy in the house when PPP-P chair­man Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was not given the floor by Deputy Speaker Qa­sim Khan Suri. The chair had already given the floor to the Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid to speak on matter of personal explanation when the PPP-P’s members demanded the floor for their party chief. The law­makers from PPP-P gathered around the speaker’s podium forcing deputy speaker to give floor to Bilawal instead of Sheikh Rashid.

Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri in his reaction repeatedly asked PPP-P’s MNAs not to pressurise him as Bi­lawal would surely be given the floor after minister for Railways’ turn. The PPP-P’s members, however, were not ready to listen to Sheikh Rashid as they started chanting anti-govern­ment slogans. The house echoed with ‘Go Niazi Go’ slogans but the chair was not ready to give the floor to Bilawal. “You want me to adjourn the proceed­ings...Bilawal sb would be given the floor after minister for railways,” said deputy speaker and later preferred to immediately adjourn the proceedings till today [Tuesday].

Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid, in a cacophony of voices, threatened the protesting members to not create rumpus during his speech. “If I am not allowed to speak, I will not let Bilawal speak either,” said the minister.

Earlier, PPP-P senior member Raja Pervaiz Ashraf asked the chair to issue production order of Asif Ali Zardari to attend the proceedings. “Member of the house was not allowed to attend the proceedings and arrested from home,” he said, requesting the chair to suspend the proceedings till issuance of production order of Zardari.

PPP-P’s Shazia Marri, with the on­set of proceedings, accused the NAB of harassing PPP-P Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari” after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) denied the former presi­dent’s bail plea in a fake accounts case. “PPP-P Co-chairman is a member of this House and a former president, so he should immediately be brought in the house by issuing production or­der,” he said.

Interior Minister (Retd) Brig Ijaz Shah, responding to the concerns raised by opposition, said that the NAB is an independent institution. “Government cannot interfere in its matter,” he said mentioning that the government had “nothing to do” with the high court’s order to turn down Zardari’s bail plea.

SHAHBAZ SHARIF DEMANDS

PRODUCTION ORDER OF

ASIF ALI ZARDARI

Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif, who attended the proceedings after two months, entered the house amid desk-thumping by his party members. He lauded Asif Ali Zardari for regularly ensuring presence in the NAB pro­ceedings. “Give a chance to say thanks and issue production order of Asif Ali Zardari,” he said.

About OIC meeting, he criticised PTI government for not raising Kashmir is­sue. “This is our failure as Kashmir is­sue should have been raised,” he said.

About Prime Minister’s tweet for ap­preciating Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub for controlling load-shed­ding, he said it was lie of the century. About Minister Fawad Chaudhary, he said the ministry of Fawad Chaud­hary has been changed. “He [Fawad Chaudhry] might be in depression...Af­ter the change of ministry, he in these days busy in discussion with Ulema over moon sighting issue,” he said.

Sharif also reiterated that there was alliance of PTI and NAB. “In an inter­view chairman NAB blamed me for requesting a deal,” he said, quoting an interview of journalist. “I had never asked for deal,” he said and asked the chair to form a committee to probe the audio and video tapes of chair­man NAB,” he demanded. About his absence from proceedings, opposition leader said he was in London for medi­cal check-up.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi , responding to opposition leader, said that NAB is an “indepen­dent institution and has no connec­tion with the government”. “We [PTI] believe NAB should not be used for witch hunting and that accountability should be held across the board,” said Qureshi. He said strongly rejected the opposition leader’s stance for terming the alliance between PTI government and NAB.

About the arrest of Zardari, he said the speaker would take his decision af­ter receiving production order request from Asif Ali Zardari. “Government cannot dictate Islamabad court or ju­diciary as all institution working in its limits,” he said. About OIC meeting, he said a separate session was also held to discuss the Kashmir issue. “A joint resolution was also read in a separate meeting, which was attended by mem­ber s of OIC,” he said.

Qureshi, in response to opposition leader on Prime Minister’s tweet, said that there was no load-shedding dur­ing the ‘Sehr and Iftar’ timings in the holy month of Ramazan.