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February 19, 2020

Fists fly in KP Assembly

Top Story

February 19, 2020

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday presented the look of the proverbial ‘fish market’ when some of the lawmakers engaged in physical scuffles and exchanged harsh and abusive remarks.

However, Speaker Mushtaq Ghani was adamant to continue the assembly proceedings. The opposition lawmakers were protesting for the second consecutive day against the Speaker..

In the beginning, it was not visible as to who was brawling with whom and who was pushing whom as the treasury and opposition benches members mingled with each other in front of the speaker’s dais when assembly session started about one hour late from its scheduled time.

Later when some of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Members Provincial Assembly (MPAs) from Swat, including a provincial minister, started shouting and pushing their own colleagues then it became known that they had engaged in physical assaults with an opposition MPA Bahadur Khan from Lower Dir and woman lawmaker from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

“I have never heard such abusive language even in a ‘lorry adda’ which I heard today on the assembly floor,” said PPP MPA Sahibzada Sanaullah who claimed that he was playing the role of mediator among the brawling lawmakers.

The opposition MPAs, including those from Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Awami National Party (ANP), PPP, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Jamaat-e-Islami were protesting for the second consecutive day of the present assembly session against what they called the ‘partial and indifferent attitude’ of Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani.

The speaker adjourned the session on Monday when the opposition members had staged protest in front of his dais. “The ruling PTI at its parliamentary party meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had decided to counter the opposition’s protest tooth and nail in a bid to defend the speaker,” said a PTI MPA requesting not to be named.

He added that the chief minister encouraged some PTI members to respond to the opposition’s protest with full force on the assembly floor.

Provincial Minister for Information Shaukat Yusufzai told the media that Chief Minister Mahmood Khan had not provoked the PTI members. He argued that the chief minister was waiting at his chamber to attend the assembly business when the opposition encircled the speaker’s chamber soon after recitation from the Holy Quran.

“We also have some young and emotional lawmakers on our side and when they (opposition members) used abusive language against our leadership then how we could stop them from responding,” he pointed out. He added that the PTI members had elected the speaker and were supposed to defend him.

However, ANP’s Bahadur Khan told this scribe that one of the PTI MPAs was pushing a woman MPA belonging to the opposition and when he tried to stop him he was physically assaulted.

“We are protesting against the speaker and also the chief minister for their indifferent attitude towards the opposition. Our protest is within the limits of parliamentary norms but the PTI MPAs crossed all parliamentary rules and traditional values of the society,” he added.

Opposition parliamentary leader Akram Khan Durrani told the media persons after the session that they would intensify the protest as neither the speaker nor the provincial government had approached them to address their grievances and reservations.

“We were not consulted prior to the assembly session. Also, our questions and motions against the government’s corruption and irregularities were not included in the agenda of the current session,” he argued.