In an unusual move, the speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly today staged a walkout from the house to protest against the failure of a senior official to brief parliament about two drafted laws. Interior Secretary Arshad Mirza was called to come to the Parliament by midday and answer questions about bills regarding compulsory drug tests of student and prevention of drugs in educational institutions. Speaker Ayaz Sadiq got extremely angry on being told that Mirza was not available and left the house in protest.
“I will continue staging walkouts until Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi gives a written undertaking that such a scenario will not be repeated…Henceforth, I will not chair any session,” he said. He said that the parliament was being ridiculed and a civil servant was not present despite the presence of a federal minister, state minister and parliamentary secretary.
Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi chaired the session but warned that the entire house would stage protest, if no action was taken against the secretary. In Pakistan, the powerful bureaucracy is often blamed for creating unnecessary hurdles in parliamentary proceedings by withholding information.