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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly degenerated into a shouting slugfest on Tuesday, as treasury and opposition came face to face after a government minister levelled serious allegations against former president Asif Ali Zardari.

Speaking in National Assembly the Minister for Ports and Shipping Ali Zaidi while citing a report of joint investigation team (JIT) in Uzair Baloch's case, alleged that Zardari used to give instructions to Baloch to undertake criminal activities in port city of Karachi.

Dubbing the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) a "corrupt and terrorist political entity", Zaidi questioned: "who killed Benazir Bhutto and her security chief Khalid Shahensha and Bilal Sheikh".

"Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari owns Rs 1.5 billion assets, but he paid Rs 0.55 million tax in 2016 and Rs 0.25 as tax in 2017," he added.

Waving a copy of the JIT report, he said that Baloch admits of killing 58 people on the alleged instructions of Asif Ali Zardari, adding that 'PPP is the only party which introduced terrorism in the country, which is evident from PIA plane hijacking case by Al-Zulfikar in 1981'.

The minister also alleged that a brother of Saeed Ghani of the PPP was a 'facilitator' of the drug mafia.

An emotional Naveed Qamar of PPP became so perturbed at one stage and walked towards the treasury benches by taking off his jacket, saying 'he is ready to fight if the treasury members so desire'.

Abdul Qadir Patel of PPP attacked the Prime Minister, saying 'there is a need to shed some light on Sita White case'.

Patel also referred to a decision of the US court in White's case and also demanded that he should also be allowed to bring in the house a book written by Reham Khan, former wife of Imran Khan. The Speaker, however, asked the PPP lawmaker to refrain from 'such kind of conversation, before he switched off his mike.

On this the PPP lawmakers along with other opposition parties, protested in front of the Speaker's dice and staged a walkout from the House.

After staging the walkout from the House, the joint opposition demonstrated against the government policies and the budget on Constitution Avenue by holding anti-government placards.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of PML-N, while speaking on the occasion, said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has lost trust of the allied political parties.

He also challenged Prime Minister Khan to seek confidence vote from the Parliament, adding that the PTI government has also lost the trust of the people.

He said that the government has to prove 172 votes in National Assembly - the numerical strength required for the simple majority - but it got only 160 for the passage of the federal budget 2020-21.

Strongly criticizing the government's policies and the 'anti-people' budget, Abbasi said that 'every decision of the PTI government is doubtful'. He said that the opposition has rejected the budget, adding that every sector is showing a decline while the economy is presenting a deteriorating look.

He also criticized the role of NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, alleging that 'he has become a party'.

PML-N parliamentary leader Khawaja Asif said that the country has been facing numerous crises for the past two years due to the 'incompetence' of the rulers.

He said that they will continue to hold protests both within and outside of the parliament.

Naveed Qamar of PPP said that the joint opposition's protest is against the 'petrol bomb' that the government has recently dropped on the people.

He said that the Rs 25 per liter increase in petrol prices is unjustified and based on 'people's enmity'.

The opposition lawmakers, while criticizing the government for recent increase in POL prices and the federal budget, also chanted slogans against the government.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020