Khursheed lambastes low attendance in NA

ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in National Assembly (NA) Khursheed Shah on Tuesday strongly criticised the low attendance in the National Assembly by pointing at the empty seats of the ministers.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq chaired the session during which Khursheed Shah expressed resentment over continuous absence of ministers in the assembly, saying it’s embarrassing to see a low quorum.

He suggested punishing government ministers for being absent from the assembly sessions, saying that 20 crore people are seeing these empty chairs and that “we were forced to stand on chairs on arriving late in the school”.

He continued that the “nation sends us to the Parliament and we break their trust”, adding there are 53 ministers in the assembly but no one is present. He said the nation was given the gift of the largest numbers of the cabinet on Independence Day but regretted that they were not taking the elected house seriously.

He lamented that it’s not the right way of democracy.

Shah, a member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), said he is ashamed to see such a low level of attendance in the assembly today, when the lawmakers were expected to discuss the Electoral Reforms Bill 2017.

He said when the prime minister comes to attend the assembly session, others follow suit.

Speaker directed, on the advice of Shah, PML-N chief whip Sheikh Aftab Ahmed to bring the backbenchers to the front.

In response, Ahmed, the parliamentary affairs minister, said he agrees with Shah’s arguments. “I request Shah to get used to this as four years have passed with similar attendance and only nine months remain,” said Ahmed.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq directed Ahmed to ensure the presence of lawmakers and ministers of the ruling party.

Sheikh Aftab assured that he would write letters and personally speak to the minister to attend the session.