ISLAMABAD - Normally Muslims stop talking at the call of prayers or Azaan, but you can’t help smiling when a neatly bearded person, running the religious affairs ministry, laughs out loud during the course.

The National Assembly witnessed a funny scene - if at all it can be called funny - when Minister of State for Religious Affairs Pir Mohammed Aminul Hasnat Shah and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) lawmaker Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry burst into laughter during the Azaan.

Deputy Speaker Murtza Javed Abbasi took a notice when the lawmakers and the journalists sitting in the press gallery turned their faces to the duo who were finding it hard to resist giggling.

Addressing the two, Abbasi said, “Please note, everybody is listening to Azaan. We should stay silent in respect”.

The Deputy Speaker remarked that such loud laughter during Azaan was even more surprising when a person who is no other than the minister of state for religious affairs is involved.

“This is even more surprising when a religious affairs minister is sitting beside you”, he quipped looking at Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry.

“We expect silence during the Azaan”, he maintained giving a message that the pleasantries could be delayed for a little time.

Nervous at the Deputy Speaker’s comments, the minister and the lawmaker just smiled back as if to say, “Please give us a breather”.

The two sneaked away after the house was adjourned so that nobody could ask “what was so funny”.

Earlier, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) criticized the government for ignoring the parliament.

Shireen Mazari of the PTI asserted, “It is a shame for us that the news of Mullah Omer’s death is coming from the outside. The Prime Minister (Nawaz Sharif) met Narendra Modi (the Indian PM) but the parliament knows nothing about that important interaction”.

“The government must take the parliament into confidence on important developments”, she stated, adding the house should not be used only to extend ordinances.

MQM’s Rashid Godil also repeated the same criticism saying, “We should not know about Mullah Omer’s death through the BBC or the meeting of the PM with India’s leader through the media”.

He opined that instead of making fiery speeches in the parliament, the session should be prorogued so that the parliamentarians could visit their constituencies where the people were facing floods.

“The parliamentarians should be on the ground. Speaking in the house will not serve any purpose. The session should be prorogued so that we can go to the people”, suggested the MQM leader.

Outside the parliament PTI leader Ali Mohammed Khan said Imran Khan will return to the assembly when the ‘issue (of membership legality)’ is settled.

“Let us see when this issue is settled. He will come back when this episode ends”, he observed referring to the MQM and JUI-F’s reservations against PTI members presence in the assembly.

Defending his party’s decision to return to the assemblies, senior PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, “This is part of our agreement with the government”.

“Our conscience is satisfied. The parties opposing our membership of the assembly have no logic. Why was the JUI-F silent when the 17th amendment was passed”, he questioned.

Turning to the MQM, he recalled that the same party had supported a uniformed president but are now making hue and cry for the supremacy of the constitution.

Qureshi pointed out that it was part of the agreement with the government that if the assemblies were not dissolved the PTI will return to the assemblies.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman was critical of the ‘concessions’ being granted to the PTI. “MMA’s (Muttahida Majil-e-Amal) resignations were accepted immediately in the past. On what basis the PTI is being granted concessions”, he asked.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman insisted that the JUI-F was not satisfied on the constitutional aspects of the PTI legislators’ National Assembly membership.

“It is not personal. We are raising our objections within the ambit of the constitution. We want the constitution to prevail”.

The cleric said that in the past, legislators of the MQM had faxed their resignations and they were accepted but “we find it hard to understand why the PTI’s resignations are not effective after all this mess”.

Mohammed Salman Khan Baloch of the MQM had an interesting news to share. “Altaf Hussain wants to come back despite all the security issues. His British passport has been confiscated and Pakistan is not even issuing him the overseas Pakistanis card. The moment he gets travel documents, he will fly home on the next available flight”.