Over a hundred lawmakers of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) held mock session outside the Punjab Assembly when they were not allowed to enter the assembly premises on Wednesday. The mock session was informally chaired by former speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal while Leader of the Opposition in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz, Members of Provincial Assembly Khawaja Saad Rafique, Malik Ahmad Khan, Khawaja Imran Nazir and Mian Naseer addressed a large number of lawmakers hailing from the opposition benches present at the entry gates of the assembly. The opposition earlier had planned to protest at the stairs of Punjab Assembly against the arrest of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif by the National Accountability Bureau but the assembly doors were closed while barbed wires were also placed at the gates to stop the MPAs from entering the assembly building. Some PML-N MPAs including Tariq Masih Gill, Khawaja Imran Nazir and Pir Ashraf Rasool crossed the barbed wires and reached the assembly gates that were closed from inside. They recorded massive protests while knocking on the gates forcefully, however they were later called back by Rana Muhammad Iqbal in order to prevent the chaos outside.Addressing the MPAs, Hamza Shehbaz said that the dictatorship of former president Pervez Musharraf is reinvigorated today when the doors of Punjab Assembly were closed for the elected representatives by those who have earlier abused and maligned the parliament. “Today they did not lock the assembly gates only but they have locked the democratic set-up in the country. The man who ordered to lock the assembly gates had once former PM Nawaz Sharif as his leader and then Pervez Musharraf became his leader and now Imran Niazi is his leader,” Hamza said, while taking a jibe at Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.“Niazi Sahib, just have a look around you. The man you made Punjab Assembly speaker is defaulter of Rs 22 billion of Punjab Bank while his son was also arrested in the National Insurance Company Limited scam,” Hamza added. He was of the opinion that Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzar was involved in a murder case while senior minister of Punjab is involved in the scam of the Employees Old-age Benefits Institution and Imran Khan’s sister is accused of making offshore companies and therefore he should start the process of accountability from his own house.“You are a product of fake mandate and people of Pakistan don’t accept you as the prime minister because Nawaz Sharif is still the PM of people’s hearts,” Hamza said. He further added that jails and arrests cannot scare the workers of PML-N as they have earlier faced detentions of Attock Fort and exiles in the past but Imran cannot even face the detention of police station of two days only. Rana Iqbal termed the act of locking the assembly gates as illegal and unconstitutional, saying that it is the privilege of every member to enter the assembly building because it is the second home of MPAs. MPA Khawaja Saad Rafique said on the occasion that it is the dictatorial attitude of the rulers to close the gates of assembly and now we’ll hold Imran from his collar who is forcing the opposition to come on the roads.“If this attitude continues, then the opposition will not have any other option except to come on the roads,” he said, adding that people will reject this Bal Thackeray through the power of their votes in the by-election. Talking exclusively to Daily Times, MPA Samiullah Khan said that today’s protest was held following the directives of the Central Executive Committee meeting on Monday after the arrest of Shehbaz Sharif by NAB. Meanwhile, media persons including members of Punjab Assembly Press Gallery Committee were also barred from entering the assembly premises. Protesting outside the assembly, the Punjab Assembly Press Gallery Committee president termed the act of government as a censorship on the freedom of press.“Not allowing lawmakers to protest is proof of the government’s anti-democratic behaviour,” said PML-N Spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb ahead of the protest.“The responsibility of any untoward incident will lie with the Punjab Assembly speaker and the government,” she added.It is pertinent to mention that Shehbaz was arrested by NAB in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Scheme case and was sent on a 10-day physical remand.Published in Daily Times, October 11th 2018.