ISLAMABAD - The opposition parties yesterday staged strong protests in both houses of the parliament in wake of the Panamagate verdict, forcing Senate chairman and National Assembly speaker to call off the sessions.

They renewed their demand for resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, saying he has lost moral authority to govern the country in light of the judgement announced by the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Panama leaks case involves corruption allegations against the prime minister and his family. In the split judgement the court stopped short of ordering disqualification of the PM but ordered further probe against him and his sons through a joint investigation team (JIT).

In the Upper House, Pakistan Peoples Party senators even rejected the JIT and supported the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in its demand for prime minister’s resignation.

The Treasury members, who are in a minority in the upper house, remained tense but observed restraint over the hullabaloo by the senators from the two main opposition parties.

The chairman kept on requesting the PPP and PTI members to take their seats but to no avail, and as a last resort he announced prorogation of the House.

In National Assembly, the lawmakers from opposition parties, right from the start of the proceedings, staged a strong protest demanding resignation from the PM and expressing concerns over the JIT’s ability to fairly probe Nawaz Sharif, who they believed will easily manipulate things in his favour.

There was pandemonium as opposition MNAs, in an apparent planned move, gathered around the Speaker’s podium. Except MQM, all opposition legislators wearing black ribbons around their arms shouted anti-government slogans.

The house echoed with slogans ‘Go Nawaz, Go’, ‘Istefa (Resignation)’ and ‘Alwida (Goodbye)’. They also tore off copies of the agenda ‘order of the day’ and ‘Question-Hour’.

The government MNAs, who were short at attendance, preferred to stay in their seats and kept showing victory signs from there. It was only Abid Sher Ali, Mian Abdul Manan and a few others who took to countering the anti-government slogans.

The MQM MNAs were silent spectators and so was a section of ruling coalition members.

“Keep order in the house...Please sit down,” Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi kept saying, with the warning to prorogue the house. But when he failed in controlling the messy situation, he prorogued the session sine die.

Earlier, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said that two judges gave disqualification order of the prime minister while the rest had also not opposed the two judges, therefore, the PM should step down to save the current democratic system.

“How the prime minister, while holding his current status, will appear before the Joint Investigation Team (JIT),” he asked, amid sloganeering from the opposition legislators.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab, in response to the attack from opposition side, said Nawaz Sharif was the elected representative of the people and he would not step down from his position.

“All opposition parties should honour the decision of Supreme Court and avoid creating hurdles in the way of constitution of JIT,” he said. He termed the opposition’s protest a reflection of their disappointment.

IPC Minister Riaz Pirzada’s proposal to the opposition to follow the rules and have a debate on the matter was lost to the anti-government chants of the charged opposition lawmakers.

Before the start of proceedings, opposition parties held a meeting under the chairmanship of Khursheed Shah to decide strategy in the house.

PTI Chief Imran Khan, after a long time, also took part in the proceedings of the house but only addressed the media outside the parliament.

The 41st session of the lower house proved embarrassing for the government as it also failed, for the sixth time, to complete the required quorum (86 MNAs), despite having 2/3 majority in the National Assembly.

After the session was prorogued by the chair, the PPP is contemplating to move a requisition in the NA Secretariat to summon 42nd session of the National Assembly. According to the parliamentary rules and regulations, the speaker is bound to summon house session in 14 days after a requisition.

All the opposition parties after holding protests also separately talked to media at parliament gate, demanding resignation of the prime minister for a transparent investigation by the JIT.

The Senate was also prorogued sine die on Friday after relentless protest over formation of the JIT.

Leader of Opposition Aitzaz Ahsen, who rose on a point of order from his seat merely thirty minutes after the Upper House resumed, said his party rejects JIT being formed to probe the Panama Papers case.

Even though Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani requested him to have his seat as the House was busy disposing off its business, the PPP leader started chanting slogan ‘Go Nawaz Go’.

He was followed by other party colleagues as well as members from PTI, even though both the parties have divergent positions about the Panama Papers case.

PPP rejected the JIT on the grounds as argued by Aitzaz Ahsen that composition of members to be drawn from various institutions as decided the apex court in its judgement on Thursday are cronies of the prime minister and cabinet members.

“How one can expect fair investigation when most of JIT members to appointed are from the subordinate departments of either from the Prime Minister or his cabinet ministers”, Ahsen question.

While the PTI members led by Azam Khan Swati while toeing their party line kept on demanding immediate resignation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arguing that has lost moral authority after two of the five members of the Supreme Court bench sought his disqualification in their unprecedented judgement the other day.

After the house session was prorogued amid opposition raucous, Leader of House in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq told media persons outside the parliament house that the Supreme Court's decision in Panama case has vindicated the stance of the prime minister.

He expressed the confidence that their opponents will continue to face humiliation in future as the PML-N will emerge victorious at every forum.

Zafarul Haq regretted the PPP's attitude during Friday proceedings. He said his party will follow the instructions of the apex court and every decision will be taken in accordance with the law.

Responding to a question, the ruling party leader said the opposition has no justification to demand the prime minister's resignation.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali said the PPP has never accepted the judgments of the apex court. He said court decision reflects the aspirations of the people of the country.