Business Recorder
Asif’s remarks Pandemonium prevails in NA

Asif’s remarks Pandemonium prevails in NA


ISLAMABAD: May 18: The opposition Thursday staged a walkout from the National Assembly over the remarks of Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA Ayesha Gulalai, who called her a ‘thief.’

The remarks caused a pandemonium during the proceedings of the House. The members of PTI demanded the minister to tender apology over his remarks and withdraw them.

During the process of legislation in the House, the minister took the floor and said while speaking about Ayesha Gulalai and her party workers’ protests on Wednesday against PESCO that around 89% electricity is stolen from the feeder of Jando Khel whose leaders were protesting. He said that 91% electricity is stolen from Thal Wazir feeder of neighbouring area.

“Thieves were leading the protest yesterday. If thieves continue to protest then it ridicules the system. I asked the PESCO to cut the electricity line of these thieves,” he remarked.

On these remarks of the minister, the PTI members strongly protested and raised slogans against the Prime Minister and his government.

Gulalai strongly condemned the remarks of the minister and said that “billions of rupees are taken from the people but no electricity is supplied to them. Electricity is not supplied to the nation and then the people are called thieves.” The minister should tender his resignation over the issue of protracted hours of load-shedding, she added.

She said that the employees of Wapda steal electricity, adding that the government also includes the lines losses in the bills of the people.

Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah said that electricity is being stolen across the country but it is important to respect one another.

“If you call an MNA a thief [for electricity being stolen from her area], what about those stealing electricity in Lahore,” he remarked.

On this, the opposition leaders chanted slogans against Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif.

“If we keep calling one another thieves, others will have no problem labelling us as thieves,” he added. He also said that “they [government members] call people thieves and then ask them for votes.”

He said that the government had committed to overcome load-shedding but it could not fulfil its promise, adding the minister should withdraw his remarks.

But, the minister refused to do so.

Afterwards, the opposition members staged a walkout from the House in protest against the remarks of the minister.

Meanwhile, responding to a calling attention notice moved by Rana Muhammad Hayat Khan and others, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told the House that the present government is giving priority to agriculture sector.

He said substantial allocations will also be made for the farmers in the forthcoming budget. He said that it will be their utmost effort to reduce lending rates and give maximum relief to the farmers.

The movers of the calling attention notice said that the government should reduce the interest rate and bring it to single digit on agriculture loans.

After the calling attention notice, Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif said that the protesters Wednesday damaged the Wapda office during the protest.

He said that there are 928 feeders of the Pesco and there is no load-shedding on 252 feeders, while there is six-hour load-shedding at 85 feeders in the urban areas and four-hour load-shedding at 171 feeders.

During the speech of the minister, Sajid Nawaz of the PTI entered the House and pointed out quorum. Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi suspended the House due to lack of quorum. After, fifteen minutes, the Deputy Speaker chaired the House and asked for counting the heads but the quorum was not complete again and he prorogued the House.

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