Opposition stages walkout during NA session over non-postponement of exams

PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique speaking during the National Assembly in Islamabad, on July 9, 2021. — Twitter/NAofPakistan

The National Assembly session was adjourned on Friday after the Opposition walked out as the government refused to agree to its demand of postponing exams.

Before walking out, PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique said he had asked Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood to delay the exams in the country, but he was yet to hear from the government.

“If the government has not decided to delay the exams, then we should be informed as to why does it plan on taking supplementary exams within 45 days?” he asked.

At this, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Professional Training Wajiha Akram said that examinations had concluded in Balochistan, while they were underway in Sindh.

Responding to Akram, Rafique said this meant that the government does not want to speak to the Opposition about postponing the examinations.

Following Rafique’s statement, the Opposition parties, along with PML-N, staged a walkout.

After the walkout, PML-N’s Sheikh Fayyaz-ud-Din pointed out a lack of quorum, following which, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, who was chairing the session, adjourned it till Monday.

Mehmood lashes out at Rafique, Iqbal

The walkout comes hours after Mehmood had slammed the PML-N and said that the party — which is “breaking up” — is “playing politics with students to gain cheap popularity.”

Taking to Twitter, the minister had criticised PML-N leaders Ahsan Iqbal and Rafique and said that they know that exams have already taken place in Balochistan and Sindh, therefore, other students cannot be treated differently.

“They know that [the] decision to take exams was taken unanimously by all federating units, including PML-N’s govt in AJK, and PPP in Sindh,” he wrote.

“They know that students cannot be promoted on the basis of previous exams as there were no exams last year.”

The minister further said that Saad Rafique and Ahsan Iqbal should know if they claim to be educated that exams are the best measure of students’ ability.

He said that it is crucial for students of class 12 to take the exams as they have to go to universities and professional colleges.

“Why should hardworking students be discriminated against. Stop cheap politics,” the minister wrote.

Mehmood wrote that the two leaders should know that after the 18th amendment, out of the 30 educational boards across the country, only one board, i.e. the federal board, was given to the federal government, while other boards are governed by the respective provinces and other bodies.

“Yet they [Ahsan Iqbal and Saad Rafique] were pretending that one order from a federal minister can stop exams across the country. Again just a failed attempt at cheap politics,” the minister wrote while censuring the statements of the PML-N leaders.

Mehmood reminded students that exams would be commencing from tomorrow (July 10) in the remaining provinces and federating units.

“Wish all students taking exams from tomorrow the very best. Inshallah, all will do well,” he wrote.

“Those students who say give more time can always appear in supplementary exams taken 2/3 months by all boards. Why should these exams be postponed and students who have been studying be penalised?”

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