Pakistan opposition stages walkout as federal minister responds to criticism over budget
Islamabad [Pakistan], June 18 (ANI): As Pakistan Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar on Friday responded to the opposition's severe criticism of the federal budget, Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari staged a walkout from the National Assembly.
Dawn reported that Azhar was speaking after Bilawal delivered a strong-worded speech on the floor of the House, saying that the government's four per cent growth number was a "lie" and that it had abandoned the common man by bringing about unprecedented levels of inflation.
"If you are not cowards then remain in your seats and listen to what I have to say. If you have the strength to hear the truth, then listen to what I have to say," said Azhar, but Shehbaz did not react and exited the house, followed by Bilawal.
This comes after Shehbaz, the president of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) delivered his budget speech yesterday, during which he slammed the government for inducing poverty and presenting "fake budgets" over the course of three years.
Shehbaz was finally able to complete his address yesterday, following four days of chaos as lawmakers from treasury and opposition benches came face to face, hurling copies of the budget and profanities at each other.
Meanwhile, Bilawal lambasted the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for 'abandoning' the people of Pakistan during challenging times, adding that the ruling party could never realise the predicament of the common man, Dawn reported.
"They thought they could present their lie of four per cent economic growth as the truth using such antics [...] that opposition would not get a chance to speak and people would not realise that the entire budget is based on lies," he said.
"But they [the government] must realise that the people don't need the opposition's speech [for this realisation]. They are already drowning in the tsunami of inflation that the government has brought on," the PPP chairman added.
The opposition leader further pointed out that the people who were suffering because of the inflation brought by Prime Minister Imran Khan's government were aware that the claim of four per cent economic growth was a lie.
Bilawal maintained that the country had seen an unprecedented increase in inflation, poverty and unemployment during the PTI's rule and questioned the authenticity of the government's claims of economic growth, Dawn reported.
He also said that the government had proposed many indirect taxes in the budget for the fiscal year 2021-22, which would further burden the people and add to their suffering.
Furthermore, Bilawal went on to slam the treasury members for the ruckus witnessed in the National Assembly during the past few days.
"Let's try and understand what happened. Imran Khan's feelings were hurt. He was upset. Someone called him a donkey," he remarked.
He also alleged that the Prime Minister had then sent "some of his friends" to the National Assembly to "abuse the mothers and the sisters of the members and the leaders of the opposition".
Addressing National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, he said the opposition would not let him forget that he failed to play his role on the day and he would have to pay the "political price" for his inaction.
"The world saw how this government defaced this august forum and insulted the people of Pakistan," he added. "They [the government] were already a source of embarrassment for us and now they are a source of embarrassment for those who brought them [to power] as well," he further said.
This came after the National Assembly session was adjourned on Tuesday after the Opposition parties attacked the Imran Khan government's budget proposals saying that it had failed to provide relief to the masses from unemployment and inflation.
During the Assembly sitting, members of the treasury created chaos on the floor and started making noise and abusing each other. The lawmakers were seen fighting and throwing copies of the budget.
In a viral video on Twitter, house member Ali Nawaz Awan was seen using derogatory words after an argument on a certain topic began. Federal minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was standing by his seat.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties in a letter to the speaker said: "This was the first occasion in the history of the National Assembly of Pakistan, and possibly parliamentary history worldwide that the treasury MNAs and government ministers defied the speaker and physically attacked the opposition."
The political situation in Pakistan has been chaotic over the recently-passed federal budget, which has been criticised by many opposition parties. (ANI)