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June 20, 2019

Uproar over remarks against PM: Senate chairman asks sergeant-at-arms to intervene

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June 20, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani on Wednesday asked the sergeant-at-arms to intervene, as the lawmakers on both sides of aisle came face-to-face over ‘highly objectionable remarks’ passed by JUI-F’s Maulana Attaur Rehman against Prime Minister Imran Khan and some others.

Some of the senators including PTI’s Nauman Wazir Khattak, Mian Raza Rabbani of PPP and Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and some others, crossed the aisle, while other senators from the government and opposition moved in quickly to avert what appeared to be a physical clash, leaving the chair with no other option but to rush the Senate security staff to restore calm. Senator Nauman rushed towards Maulana and pushed aside the advancing Rabbani, who tried to stop him and this brought in other opposition members, including senators Khokhar and Behramand Tangi and there was an exchange of hot words as well. Some 10-12 security staff personnel stood between the treasury and the opposition benches. However, on finding hard to keep the House running, the session was adjourned for Thursday afternoon.

Earlier, as the House resumed and some legislative business was disposed of, the chair gave floor to PPP’s Behramand Tangi to complete his speech, which could not be completed on Tuesday owing to pandemonium in the House, following the remarks of Maulana Attuar Rehman, who is the younger brother of JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman. The Maulana had also failed to take the floor before Tangi finished his speech on Tuesday. On getting the floor, he unleashed attack on prime minister for hisalleged ‘disgrace’ of Sahaba Ikram (RAs) during his address to the nation, following the presentation of the budget in the National Assembly. Wednesday witnessed a rare scene with the chair seeking intervention of the security staff to avert physical clashes, when Maulana Atta managed to get time again from the chair to finish his speech and mounted direct attack on the person of Prime Minister, citing the container and D-Chowk; the rest was expunged by the Senate chairman.

The fuming Leader of the House Syed Shibli Faraz reminded the chair that there was an agreement between the two sides that the senators on both sides of the divide, would focus on budget and avoid personal attacks on each other. “We will not let him speak, if he provokes and incites religious hatred,” he asserted. Several treasury members strongly slammed the Maulana and vowed not to continue his speech, if he persisted with slanderous insinuations against the prime minister.

At this, some opposition senators went to the Maulana to calm him down and advised him apparently to speak only on the budget. The treasury senators also resumed their seats. However, within minutes, they were up again, as the JUI-F senator grilled the Prime Minister for distorting history and attacking the Companions of the Holy Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him). He wondered what was the justification of doing so in his address to the nation. As the Maulana remained focused on the Prime Minister, the chair gave floor first to JI’s Prof Mushtaq Ahmad, PML-N’s Senator Mushahidullah Khan and then Moala Bux Chandio of PPP, who questioned the logic behind prime miinister speaking on religious matters, having what they alleged no authority or command to do so. Senators Mushahidullah and Chandio said if the Prime Minister would pass such remarks, the Maulana, as member of the House, was at liberty to express his views, which might not be to the liking of others. They asked PTI senators to ask the Prime Minister to desist from speaking on all matters, which invited trouble.

Mushahidullah objected to Senator Shibli’s request to the chair that mike should be denied to the Maulana and said every member has the right to speak, whereas Chandio asked had Imran Khan not once said that there was no mention of Hazrat Essa (AS) in the history.

Commenting about the treasury members, they charged that they had assumed the role of opposition, asking PTI to be mindful of the fact that they were no more on the container but in the government and treasury has to show magnanimity. Senator Shibli said every member is free to speak but a code conduct has to be followed and none could be allowed to spoil the environment of the House and cause disturbance.

At the very outset, the chair asked the senators to make recommendations to the National Assembly on the Money Bill, the Assets Declaration Ordinance, 2019, a motion to this effect was moved by Senator Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, Minister for Parliamentary

Affairs.

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