After the noisy session of National Assembly, the arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani was also echoed in the Punjab Assembly during its session on Thursday where the joint opposition including the Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz staged a walkout in protest against the detention of Durrani by the NAB officials. As the session started on Thursday with Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari in the chair, the parliamentary leader of PPP Syed Hassan Murtaza said on a point of order that political vendetta is on the rampage in the country for last some months in the name of ‘accountability’. He said that the Speaker of Sindh Assembly was arrested during his private visit to Islamabad and what sort of message we are giving to the smaller provinces by such actions. He added that the sanctity of the institutions shouldn’t be compromised at all. “If the arrest is to be made merely on the basis of inquiries then we all know that the cases of Prime Minister, CM KPK and Defense Minister are also at the inquiry stage,” said Murtaza, while adding that the sanctity of Chair was derailed in the arrest of Durrani. As he announced a walkout, the PPP was also joined by the MPAs of PML-N while staging a walkout from the House. Later, provincial ministers Chaudhry Zaheer-ud-Din, Mian Aslam Iqbal and Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed convinced the protesting MPAs to come back to the House on the instructions from the Chair. Speaking on the point of order, PML-N’s Azma Bokhari said that only politicians are being held accountable for last seven decades because they are easy targets and they also face the media trial. “Every institution including the military and judiciary has their own system of accountability. How many Army Generals were awarded punishment merely on the corruption charges,” she asked. She was of the view that only politicians are humiliated in the garb of corruption. She also challenged the House to name even a single one who does not fall under so-called “assets beyond known sources of income” charges. She further added that if situation remains the same then she worries if the Speakers of National Assembly, KPK Assembly and Punjab Assembly can also be arrested someday because they are also facing the inquiries. Law minister Raja Basharat asked the Opposition to support the govt for amending NAB laws PML-N’s MPA Khawaja Salman Rafique, who is in the NAB custody these days but attends the session on the production orders, said that his party and PPP couldn’t amend the NAB laws in last 10 years but there is a need to change these laws in the national interest. Salman Rafique also expressed his dismay for not issuing the production orders of his elder brother MNA Khawaja Saad Rafique by the Speaker National Assembly. PMLN’s Mian Naseer termed the NAB as “accountability drama” and demanded to register FIRs against those officials who entered into Speaker’s house while flouting all the moral values. “How can some officers of grade 17 or 18 enter into the house of a Speaker this way and therefore an FIR should be launched against them. It is a well orchestrated attempt to finish the politics of political people,” he said. The case of Aleem Khan kept pending for 9 years but he received a notice by the NAB when he became a potential candidate for the office of CM, he added. Speaking on a point of order, former senior minister Aleem Khan, who is also in the custody of NAB and attends the session on production orders, said that he remained member of this House from 2003 to 2007 and always tried to work diligently for the welfare of his people. “I am saying on oath that I had never been involved in any corruption and I never misused my powers for vested interests since I came in politics. I remained in the struggle of Neya Pakistan for ten years and I assure my leader Imran Khan that I’ll not let down him at all,” said Aleem Khan. While PTI’s Nadeem Qureshi, Uzma Kardar and Shahida Ahmed strongly reacted over the demands put by opposition lawmakers to amend NAB laws. They asked what PMLN and PPP has done in past for this law. Shahida Ahmed expelled the impression of PMLN Azma Zahid Bukhari that “everyone will come under the charges of assets beyond known sources of income”. Provincial minister for law and parliamentary affairs Raja Basharat said that why the PPP and PML-N didn’t revisit the NAB laws if they were so draconian in nature. He was of the view that it is a wrong perception that the government is behind all such arrests as we are also affected by NAB in the case of Aleem Khan. The opposition should support us in revisiting these laws, said Raja Basharat and added that everyone should follow Aleem Khan in facing the cases of NAB who resigned as senior minister and facing his case as a common man. “There is a need to initiate a process of self-accountability within our own ranks. The other forces intervene when we don’t present ourselves for the accountability,” said Raja, while giving a suggestion to the politicians. He also demanded the resignations of other leaders who are facing the NAB inquiries like PTI’s Abdul Aleem Khan resigned. Responding Azma Bukhari’s query regarding punishment in armed forces and judiciary against corruption, he said Azma Zahid did not know the truth. He said there are mechanism in military forces to trial and award punishment to the corrupt elements. Later, the PPP and PML-N wanted to move a joint resolution out-of-turn against the arrest of Durrani but they failed in doing so due to the voting for being in small numbers as compared to the treasury benches. As the opposition failed to move the resolution, they pointed out the quorum that government failed to meet and had to adjourn the session for Friday morning. Published in Daily Times, February 22nd 2019.