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National Assembly session deferred indefinitely sans debate on French envoy’s expulsion.

The National Assembly (NA) session held on Friday was indefinitely deferred without deliberation on the matter of French ambassador’s expulsion amid opposition lawmakers’ protest.

The session began with NA Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri in the chair. However, the session was marred by chaos and could not proceed with the agenda of the day.

Soon after the session started, lawmakers belonging to opposition parties – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) – stood up from their seats, asking the deputy speaker to allow them to speak on the point of contention.

On being refused the chance to speak, the opposition lawmakers surrounded the deputy speaker’s dais.

Suri told the protesting lawmakers that they will be given a chance to speak in the question and answer session. However, the PML-N and PPP announced to boycott the question and answer session, and resorted to sloganeering against the government.

Speaker Suri subsequently adjourned the session for an indefinite period.

On Tuesday, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) called off its violent protests after the government agreed to table a resolution in parliament to debate the French ambassador’s expulsion.

During a meeting of the the PTI parliamentary party, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid and Religious Affairs Minister Noorul Haq Qadri briefed the participants about the understanding reached with the TLP.

They said the TLP agreed to end its protest across the country after the government accepted its demand to table a resolution in the National Assembly on whether or not the French ambassador should be expelled from the country.

The government also gave the nod to release its chief, Saad Rizvi, whose arrest triggered the unrest, and other party activists and supporters detained under the Maintenance of Public Order and on terrorism charges.

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