No Saad, no NA session


–Opp walks out from session after NA speaker says needs legal advice before issuing production order for detained PML-N leader


ISLAMABAD: Opposition members in the National Assembly on Friday staged another walkout in protest against the non-issuance of a production order for former railways minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Khawaja Saad Rafique.

The National Assembly session was adjourned till Monday owing to the walkout.

Saad and his brother Salman Rafique were arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with the Paragon Housing Society scam earlier this week after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected their request for an extension in their pre-arrest bail.

During the session on Friday, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf expressed hope that Saad’s production order would be issued on Friday. In response, however, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser said that advice from legal experts was needed to produce the order.

On Thursday, PML-N lawmaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said that the opposition will not accept any further delay in the issuance of Rafique’s production orders. The former NA speaker told his successor that his name “will be written in golden words in history if he would issue the production orders”.

“It was in the dictatorship of General Musharraf that the production orders of Javed Hashmi were not issued,” Sadiq recalled on Thursday before the opposition staged a walkout.

On Wednesday, the parliamentary party of the PML-N had warned the government that it would not let parliament function until the speaker issues production order of Saad Rafique.

Addressing the meeting, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif paid tribute to the “political, social and national services rendered by the Khawaja brothers for Pakistan”. He said that Salman Rafique was part of his Punjab government and he had known him to be a very noble gentleman who served the people with all his heart.

Shehbaz questioned as to what precedent is NAB looking to set for the people of Pakistan by arresting and harassing those who serve the country. These individuals added millions into the national treasure, revived failed projects, is this why they are being put behind bars? he asked.