Asad QaiserAnother session of National Assembly (NA) on Wednesday adjourned with rucks and shouts instead of any constructive debate, as the NA resumed its business after a halt of almost three months due to the Covid-19. The NA meet up started with Speaker Asad Qaiser in the chair. Surprisingly, both the opposition and treasury benches interrupted each other while their speeches were in order. The question hour was just about to end when opposition members Rana Sanaullah, Rana Tanveer, Murtaza Javed Abbasi and Agha Rafi Ullah left their seats and went to the speaker’s roaster, requesting to speak to him on some matter. He, however, turned a deaf ear and concentrated on the answers and questions being raised and responded to by the lawmakers. After this, the speaker asked Minister for Law Farogh Naseem to read out the content of a bill that was tabled to bring the 26th Amendment to the Constitution for open balloting in Senate elections. As the minister started reading, the House echoed with whistles, shouts and noise of desk-thumping. It seemed as if the opposition members had pre-planned their protest against the proposed legislation. When the speech of the law minister became inaudible, the speaker allowed PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal to speak. The opposition leader accused the speaker of being biased and not letting the opposition to speak. He said that as the speaker is custodian of the House, he should perform neutrally instead of favouring any party. Iqbal said that the opposition was very much concerned about the way the House proceedings are being conducted. “We are debating on non-issues since the last 10 days instead of public issues,” he regretted, adding that it seemed as if the opposition has been labelled as pariahs in parliament. Iqbal also accused the National Accountability Bureau of gunning for “revenge” against the opposition, saying that prominent members were all in jail. “Democracy does not work like ‘you are angels and the opposition is the devil’,” he said. “Legislation or amendments to constitution cannot be done for the friends of Imran Khan,” Iqbal added. The PML-N leader said that in the past, the opposition would speak for even two hours at a stretch. “If you will not let us speak here, we will speak up in the streets and alleyways.” He further said that the prices of flour, sugar and essential commodities were skyrocketing, the aviation industry was coming to a standstill and after lies were told in the House that licences of 850 pilots were fake, “our airline was barred by US and Europe”. Moreover, he said the Pakistan Steel Mills employees are being fired. While responding to Iqbal, Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed said the opposition is not allowing him to speak because they knew what he had to say. “Just as their leaders are thieves, so are these people,” he alleged. He further said that the opposition claimed the government would be forced to leave after January 31. “Well we are sitting here today,” he remarked. Saeed said the government wanted an open ballot in the Senate, but the opposition wanted “Changa Manga politics”. While referring to the PML-N, the minister said, “Their leader is sitting in London and poisoning people’s minds.” Referring to the on-going protest by the Steel Mills workers as the asset is set to be privatised, he said that had it been performing well, “their foreign minister would not have ‘offered’ PIA along with the Steel Mills for free. After this, PPP leader Raja Pervez Ashraf started his speech regarding the proposed amendment. As the former premier started his speech, federal minister Fawad Hussain Chaudhry stood up from his seat and signalled his backbencher colleagues thump desks in order to interrupt the speech. On this, Ashraf said, “I appreciate you people on this, as the opposition usually protests and not the treasury.” Amid protest, the law minister and Babar Awan tried to shed light on different clauses of the bill, but could not do so clearly. During the course of the House business, opposition members pointed out lack of quorum three times. However, it was found to be complete on each counting. The speaker announced break three times, but the opposition and treasury members continued to cause a rumpus. He, ultimately, announced the adjournment of the session by today (Thursday).