Zardari booed during joint session of Parliament

Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari was repeatedly interrupted by boos and slogans from opposition lawmakers as he made his fifth consecutive address to a joint session of Parliament today to outline his government`s policies for the final year of its five-year term. The slogans began even before Fehmida Mirza, the Speaker of the National Assembly or lower house of Parliament, invited Zardari to address the joint session shortly before 2 pm.

As Zardari walked to the rostrum, the slogan-shouting increased and opposition lawmakers could be heard saying, "Loot maar bandh karo." Zardari initially smiled and continued reading his speech in English. However, he appeared to get flustered as the slogans and boos from the opposition benches continued for almost 15 minutes.The members of the treasury benches responded by thumping their desks before the opposition finally stopped shouting slogans. The opposition lawmakers did not quieten down despite several calls from Speaker Mirza for order and maintaining the decorum of the House. Zardari became the first elected President to address a joint session of Parliament for the fifth consecutive time.

His address largely focussed on the Pakistan People`s Party-led government`s efforts to deal with various challenges facing the country, including terrorism and a crippling power crisis. The address was attended by the three service chiefs, including army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief Ministers and Governors of the four provinces, diplomats and senior officials.