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Pakistan: Opposition Leader, 9 Lawmakers Charged with Violence at Balochistan Assembly

For representation.

For representation.

Other than Opposition Leader Malik Sikander Khan and the nine lawmakers, the FIR has named scores of political workers.

The Leader of Opposition and nine other lawmakers in Pakistan’s Balochistan province have been charged with attacking members of the ruling party and treasury benches in the provincial assembly ahead of the budget session, according to media reports on Monday. A First Information Report (FIR) was filed at the Bijli Road Police Station in provincial capital Quetta under 17 sections of the Pakistan Penal Code based on a complaint submitted by the Balochistan government, the Dawn newspaper reported.

Other than Opposition Leader Malik Sikander Khan and the nine lawmakers, the FIR has named scores of political workers. The Opposition leaders visited the Bijli Road Police Station on Monday in connection to the FIR, Geo TV reported.

The Opposition parties demanded that a counter complaint be filed against the ruling party members and the police chief for using “excessive force" while breaking up the protest at the assembly complex last week. No counter-plaint has been registered so far.

On last Friday, Opposition leaders — belonging to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (Pk-MAP) and some independent candidates — protested outside the Balochistan Assembly, alleging their constituencies had been purposefully neglected in the Budget Draft.

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On the day, the Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan-government was to officially unveil the 2021-22 budget.

The Opposition leaders were joined by scores of their supporters and they blocked all entry points to the building, delaying the unveiling of the Budget. Chaos ensued as the police were summoned. The security personnel used force to disperse the protestors, clearing the way to the Assembly Building. At least four Opposition lawmakers were injured in the melee.

The police used its armoured personnel carrier to force open a gate which was locked from inside. A video on the internet purportedly showed CM Khan being escorted to the Assembly Hall and a shoe being flung at him. The budget was presented on the day after a delay of about two hours.

Speaking to newspersons on Monday, Spokesman for the provincial government Liaquat Shahwani decried demonstrations by the Opposition leaders.

“They bulldozed the political history and values of Balochistan," he commented on the protests.

The violence in the Balochistan Assembly came days after a similar incident took place at the National Assembly in Islamabad, where lawmakers from the Treasury and Opposition hurled abuses and threw copies of the official Budget documents.

A woman member of the house was injured in the incident, which drew widespread criticism on social media. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser last week barred seven lawmakers, including three from the ruling party, from entering the House in view of the incident.

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first published:June 21, 2021, 18:47 IST