A day-long drama was witnessed in the Punjab Assembly on Monday as Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi refused to conduct the session and allow the provincial budget to be presented. The Punjab Assembly’s budget session for the fiscal year 2022-23 was postponed till 1pm today.
Elahi demanded that the inspector general of police (IGP) first tender an apology to him and that all cases lodged against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) workers and parliamentarians be withdrawn.
The provincial cabinet had earlier approved the Punjab government’s first budget of more than Rs3.226 trillion for the next fiscal year.
The budget session was scheduled to begin at 2pm yesterday (June 13) but it started after several hours of delay. Once it started, the Opposition benches protested the presence of Punjab government spokesperson Attaullah Tarar in the assembly, as he is not an MPA.
“We will not let the budget be presented till [Chief Minister] Hamza Shehbaz is present in the House, while the inspector-general and chief secretary are sitting in the gallery,” the Opposition said.
Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi demanded the guards escort Tarar out of the assembly and adjourned the session for 10 minutes.
Elahi said that if Tarar was not out of the building within 10 minutes, he would adjourn the session till tomorrow.
After the break, Tarar exited the assembly in “protest”. He also showed his middle finger before leaving the Punjab Assembly.
He also ‘apologised’ for the incident on Twitter. “[The] speaker sent this force toward me to oust me from the house unconstitutionally. This attempt failed. I decided to leave the House in the interest of the public but as I was leaving expletives were used against me. In response, I turned to the opposition benches. If anyone was hurt by this, I am sorry. I was wrong,” he wrote.