ISLAMABAD - Opposition benches in the Senate on Tuesday gave warning shots to the government saying they would not bail out the government every time and it should improve its performance as well as its ministers should change their behaviour.

The opposition parties in the House also warned the government that if its ministers did not change their behaviour and the government did not improve its performance, it would be difficult for the government to complete its five-year term.

The criticism of the opposition lawmakers came after the remarks of Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal who, replying to a supplementary question about Metro Bus Project, said, “As many as people would travel through the Metro Bus after its completion that security deposits of some candidates in Rawalpindi would be forfeited in next elections.”

The minister responded to a question of parliamentary leader of PML-Q in the House Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain that how many people would travel per day through Metro Bus after its completion.  The opposition benches severely objected to the remarks of Ahsan Iqbal and the voices of ‘no no’ were heard in the House.

“The question was not political in nature as it was asked whether the government had made any feasibility report on Metro Bus Project and if prepared then how many people would travel through it per day,” PPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani said.

“We will not bail out the government every time. The ministers should be careful. The government has still saved its skin and perhaps it is still not out of danger,” Leader of Opposition in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan said condemning the behaviour of the minister.

“PM has given us assurances that ministers should improve their behaviour and we will see whose security deposits are forfeited in next elections,” he added.

“If the ministers did not rectify themselves, the matter would not go to the forfeiture of security deposits of candidates,” he said pointing towards early elections.

However, the minister was of the view that a fresh question should be put in this regard while the opposition benches stressed that there was no need for a fresh question. The matter was later resolved after Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq apologised on behalf of Ahsan Iqbal. It was a hard day for the federal ministers in the Upper House as earlier in the day, the chair barred Science and Technology Minister Zahid Hamid from taking part in the proceedings for his remarks made on the floor of the National Assembly during his Tuesday’s session.

There was a furore in the House from opposition benches over the remarks of the minister and the lawmakers forced the chair to bar him from taking part in the proceedings after they asked the chair either to suspend the minister or show him the door. “The minister cannot participate in today’s ruling. It is up to him either to leave the House or to sit here,” Deputy Chairman Senate Sabir Ali Baloch ruled.

Raza Rabbani before the start of the question hour on a point of order said that Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid had remarked in National Assembly over a Senate bill barring the bureaucrats from doing dual jobs that Senate was setting wrong traditions. “The privilege of the House has been breached,” he said. Amid slogans of ‘shame shame’, he suggested either the minister should tender an apology or he should be suspended and pointed out that the minister was also part of that cabinet which had tried to disband the federation in the past.

ANP lawmaker Zahid Khan went one step ahead and asked the chair to show ministers the door. “The ministers have no courage to reply to accusations of the sit-ins and of PTI chief Imran Khan,” he said and added it was the Parliament who brought the government out of the crisis.

Soon after the chair gave the ruling, Zafarul Haq objected that that the decision had been made without hearing the other side or the chair at least should seek the script of the proceedings of the Lower House to ascertain the facts. Then the chair said that he had reserved his ruling and would decide the matter after seeing the script of NA proceedings. However, the ministers would not take part in the proceedings, he said.

Later, the House was adjourned without taking up any agenda item due to the lack of quorum after the opposition benches staged a protest walkout from the House. The walkout was staged when the chair announced to end the question hour session and did not allow ANP lawmaker Haji Adeel to ask a supplementary question. The question hour had already exceeded its time.