PESHAWAR: The blowing of trumpets and whistles and beating of desks with soft-faced hammers by the opposition members turned the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly into a noisy arena here on Monday.
The opposition lawmakers started commotion in the house immediately after the qari finished recitation from the Holy Quran.
Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, who was in the chair, remained adamant to give in to the fuss made by the opposition and continued with the proceedings.
At one stage, he ordered the sergeant-at-arms to call women constables to snatch trumpets and hammers from the opposition’s women lawmakers.
However, Pakistan Peoples Party member Nighat Yasmin Orakzai stopped them from snatching bugles and whistles from colleagues by shouting, “Beware, do not touch the members.”
The opposition benches continued the protest against the speaker and the government on the sixth working day of the assembly. They had begun protest in the house against the speaker’s ‘partial role’ in the assembly.
The agenda was disposed of in less than 20 minutes and the sitting was adjourned until March 16.
The government presented the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Water Bill, 2020, to comprehensively manage and regulate water resources in the province in the interest of conservation and sustainability.
The government and opposition met last Thursday in an attempt to defuse tensions in the assembly, while Speaker Ghani had also directed the government to approach the agitating opposition.
However, efforts for reconciliation failed prompting the opposition members to protest. Before the start of the sitting, the opposition MPAs met minister for law and parliamentary affairs Sultan Khan but the meeting ended without breakthrough.
Talking to media, Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani said the opposition parties would continue their protest in the assembly.
He warned that the opposition members might set up a protest camp outside the Chief Minister’s House if the government did not meet their demands.
Mr Durrani said the speaker had bulldozed parliamentary traditions and values by ‘killing’ the house agenda.
Opposition Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal MPA Inayatullah Khan told Dawn that the government’s alleged ‘antagonistic’ behaviour and non-seriousness had forced the opposition to agitate in the assembly.
He said the government was not ready to implement the orders of the Peshawar High Court regarding the allocation of development funds for lawmakers.
The opposition member said the government did not fulfil its commitments to allocate 35 per cent of the annual development programme to MPAs of the opposition and the rest to the ruling party’s members.
Amid noise and uproar, the government through a resolution condemned the Pakhtun Tahafuz Movement for allegedly desecrating the national flag during a public meeting in Charsadda on Sunday.
PTI MPA Dr Sumera Shams tabled the resolution, which was passed by the house with a majority vote.
The resolution demanded of the government to take serious action against those involved in the desecration of the national flag. It said the PTM activists had hurt sentiments of Pakistanis through the act.
Talking to media on the assembly’s premises, independent MNA Mohsin Javed Dawar, who has been affiliated with the PTM, denied the allegations regarding the flag’s desecration.
He said some ‘planted’ people attempted to instigate participants of the meeting and they tore the flag.
Mr Dawar said Manzoor Pashteen had invited the people to wave flags.
“The PTI is against democracy in this country and its main purpose is to defame forces, which believe in the supremacy of the Constitution, law and democracy,” he said.
The MNA said troublemakers were deputed in and outside the venue in Charsadda to create disturbance in the PTM’s meeting.