Verbal slugfest mars Senate session

The treasury and opposition lawmakers on Friday engaged in a verbal brawl in Senate over the use of government helicopter by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan.

During the session, presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, the PTI senators strongly protested against Bahramand Tangi’s allegations against Imran. In response, the opposition senators demanded of the chair to remove Tangi from the house.

The PTI senators started protest when Minister of State Shahadat Awan mentioned Imran’s use of government helicopter in the session. Awan said that it was stated by the PTI members that the helicopter ride cost Rs45 per kilometre. “Which helicopter has these charges?”

Murtaza Javed Abbasi said that the PTI members should know that there were flying hours in the aviation sector. “There are flight hours and not kilometres”, he added. The lawmakers demanded that the issue should be sent to the relevant standing committee.

Leader of the opposition Shahzad Waseem said that the PTI and its ally, the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), proved in Punjab on Thursday that power was not important for them. “It was stated that we will not dissolve the Punjab Assembly,” he added.

“After Punjab, we will dissolve the assembly of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Soon there will be general elections in the country following which we will form the government again. In the interest of the country, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governments are going to dissolve the assemblies.”

Firing a broadside against the coalition government, the opposition leader said that the government was being run in advertisements only. “The money received at the Geneva conference was not aid rather these were loans. People are not even getting flour in the country,” Waseem added.

“This government is running away from [local] elections. First Islamabad, and now they are running away from elections in Karachi, he continued. “Imran Khan has destroyed their two-party system. There was an assassination attempt on Imran Khan.”

Taking the floor, Senator Mushtaq Ahmad said that warehouses were full of flour and sugar and asked who were these flour thieves, sugar thieves and dollar thieves? Senator Abdul Ghafoor Haideri asked the opposition to tell the house what they did during their tenure of three and a half years in the government.

Senator Fida Muhammad raised the issue of the dilapidated state of PIA planes in the House. He added that he travelled by a PIA flight to Istanbul and there was no foam in the seats. Besides, a side window was broken in a flight to Jeddah. “A big accident could happen if the matter is taken into consideration.”

Senator Tangi in his speech alleged that Imran Khan and his entire family were thieves. His remarks drew strong reaction from the opposition. Senator Faisal Javed said that Tangi was a rude person and he should be removed from the house. Later, the chairman adjourned the session till Monday.

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