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November 6, 2018

Law and disorder: Uproar in NA as PPP, PTI members clash

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November 6, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Temperature soared during the National Assembly (NA) proceedings which witnessed an exchange of abusive language between two parliamentarians from the opposition and treasury benches forcing the speaker to adjourn the House on Monday night.

The bad taste was created in the NA when the members from both sides were speaking on a situation created across the country following the Supreme Court (SC)’s decision to acquit Aasia Masih from the blasphemy charges. The parliamentarians from PPP Syed Rafiullah and Abdul Majeed Niazi of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) were involved in an exchange of abusive language with each other with the former taking a lead in the war of words. Some other members from both sides also joined the verbal brawl but they refrained from using abusive language. At one point, Rafiullah rushed towards the treasury benches to take on Abdul Majeed Niazi while using objectionable remarks for him. However, he was stopped by Syed Khurshid Shah, Ahsan Iqbal and others from the opposition benches.

In the meantime, Speaker Asad Qaisar directed the seargents-at-arms to remove the PPP member from the National Assembly for his unparliamentary behaviour. However, sensing tense situation in the House, he adjourned the proceedings till Tuesday morning. The uproar in the House began after Shazia Marri from the PPP took the floor and started criticising Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government for failure to protect lives and property during the protest demonstrations in the last few days. “In the speech, he talked about the use of force but when it came to an agreement with the leaders of protesters, he looks like Gen Niazi who surrendered,” she said.

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan, immediately intervened and took a strong exception to the contents of speech of the PPP member saying the negative language should not be used for the tribe of ‘Niazis’. “There was also General Niazi who was martyred by terrorists in Fata,” the minister while referring to the martyrdom of Major General Sanaullah Niazi who died in a roadside bomb explosion in September, 2013, said. A PTI member Abdul Majeed Niazi also got infuriated by the remarks from the PPP member and started speaking loudly. He was confronted by Syed Rafiullah of PPP and then the situation got out of control.

Shazia appreciated the decision of the Supreme Court saying his party stood by the verdict. However, she questioned as to what measures were taken by the government for protection of judges and Aasia Masih. “What is the government doing as it failed to control the situation,” she said adding it is the government's responsibility to establish the writ of the state and maintain law and order in the country. She went on to say that the Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari is also happy with the agreement between the government and the protestors as is obvious from her tweet.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the government has failed to establish the writ of the state and signed agreement with the miscreants in the darkness of the night. “The government adopted a non-serious attitude towards the issue and also signed the agreement, which shows its weakness,” said Abbasi. The PML-N leader said the opposition was expecting the prime minister or the interior minister to turn up in the National Assembly on Monday to take the House into confidence about the agreement and tell the parliamentarians about the impact of the document on the country. He said the opposition also wanted to speak on the issue in the National Assembly on Friday but the chair adjourned the proceedings in haste. “Perhaps it happened for the first time that the government members went out of the House and then one of the parliamentarians pointed out lack of quorum,” he said. Abbasi said it was the prime minister who in his address to the nation maintained that use of derogatory remarks for the armed forces and judiciary would not be tolerated and action would be taken against those using such remarks.

Taking the floor next, PML-N member Rana Sanaullah questioned as to whether Aasia Masih is still in the prison or released following the Supreme Court’s verdict. Observing that the address of the Prime Minister Imran Khan was government’s policy in which he talked about the sanctity of institutions but on the other hand, an agreement was signed with the protesters. “If this issue is not looked into wisely, it will have serious implications for the country,” he said. He recalled that during a meeting between the treasury and opposition, it was noted that there were big sit-ins only in three cities of the country. “But on the other hand, the whole country was paralysed, mobile service was suspended and highways and motorways were closed for traffic,” he said. He said the leaders and protesters staged violent protests belonged to the force created by some hidden powers. The same force also contested the general elections and managed over two million votes, adding the new force was created and contested the 2018 elections only to disturb the vote bank of PML-N under a well-planned strategy.

Rana Sanaullah who had also remained as the law minister in the PML-N government in Punjab alleged that some hidden powers also interviewed PTI candidates before they were awarded tickets for the elections and also raised a group from South Punjab from within the PML-N.  

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