Opposition links country's stability to govt ouster, fresh elections.

Byline: Amir Wasim

ISLAMABAD -- The National Assembly continued the debate on the issue of price hike for the third consecutive day on Thursday, with the opposition suggesting the ouster of the government and fresh elections as the only solution to save the country from total disaster and a federal minister offering it to sign a 'charter of economy' for consistent economic policies.

Nearly three-hour-long proceedings, however, once again ended abruptly when the opposition staged a walkout after pointing out lack of quorum to prevent parliamentary secretary for commerce Aliya Hamza from speaking when she once again started targeting the opposition leadership and used the term 'Mr 10 Per cent' in an apparent reference to former president Asif Ali Zardari.

The parliamentary secretary provoked the opposition's protest despite earlier warnings by Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri that they would take action against those who would make 'personal attacks' on each other's leadership.

Quoting Wednesday's incident when the treasury and opposition members had come to blows during the speech of Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan for calling Asif Zardari 'Mr 10 Per cent', the speaker said some members had made 'below the belt' remarks during the debate on the price hike, which was a breach of the privilege of the house.

Minister wants opposition to sign 'charter of economy'

'Do not make personal attacks. I am telling all the parliamentary leaders. Next time, if it happens, I will switch off the mike and take action against the member, whether belonging to the treasury or opposition,' Mr Qaiser warned.

Responding to the speech of PPP leader and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in which he had mentioned some of the statements of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Aliya Hamza quoted a report from the UK's Daily Mail with the headline 'Mr Ten Per Cent'. When the PPP members protested, she said they should go to Google and simply search 'Mr Ten Per Cent'.

Mr Ashraf protested the remarks and said the parliamentary secretary was instigating the opposition just ahead of the address to a joint sitting of parliament by the visiting Turkish president. He said the opposition did not want to spoil the environment on this occasion, but perhaps she was instigating them. He then started walking out of the house and another PPP MNA Shagufta Jumani pointed out lack of quorum.

PTI lawmaker Amjid Niazi, who was presiding over the sitting in the absence of the...

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