Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) plans to boycott the Sindh Assembly sittings and is ready to resign from the assemblies and cabinet if Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri does not apologise for her comment on the late Pir Pagaro VII.
On April 27, Marri had referred to an oft-quoted remark about Pir Pagaro VII that he backed the military and she said that he was a traitor to democracy.
PML-F legislators walked out of the session quietly on Thursday, but MPA Marvi Rashdi brought up the issue at a briefing for reporters outside the assembly. “Our party’s senior leadership directed us to boycott the session until there is an apology,” she said. “Our resignations have also been prepared at their directives but we are holding off on them because we do not want to provoke people.”
The PML-F is a coalition partner of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) at the provincial and federal levels. It has eight representatives in the Sindh Assembly and two ministers – Jam Madad Ali and Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh – in the Sindh cabinet.
Addressing a press conference at his residence Imtiaz Shaikh, the general secretary of the PML-F in Sindh, said that if PPP ministers were tired of their reconciliation policy they could suggest parting ways with his party rather than stooping so low.
“Shazia Marri called Pir saheb a man who represented GHQ and used derogatory language for him. We cannot tolerate this kind of approach,” Shaikh said. “She should tender an apology without any delay.”
Shaikh, who is also an adviser to the CM, went on to say that Shah Mardan Shah (Pir Pagaro VII) and his son Syed Sabghatullah Rashdi had always claimed to have links with GHQ, but using non-parliamentary language against them was not good omen. “They are our forces; what is wrong if we support our army,” he questioned
“Ms. Marri should re-consider that her parents were elected MPAs on the ticket of the PML-F and were followers of Shah Mardan Shah’s manifesto,” said Shaikh.
For her part, Marvi Rashdi said, “Respect is a give and take process. We have faced personal attacks for the last four years.” It was surprising that the PPP had not taken any notice of Marri’s comment.
She said that Jam Madad Ali, the parliamentary leader of the PML-F in the Sindh Assembly, was in Islamabad for talks and a detailed briefing would be given on Friday on the party’s course of action.
However, she refused to link the issue of the apology Haq has demanded of her to Marri’s. “That was an issue of public interest that I exposed and if I had used any un-parliamentary language, I would have been ready to apologise. But my apology will be tantamount to humiliating the women of Sindh and Pakistan.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2012.