A resolution tabled by the treasury benches in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly to support the recently convicted prime minister triggered off unprecedented scenes in the house, with the speaker calling in the police to arrest an independent lawmaker.
“Take this man out of this house,” said Speaker Wazir Baig, after Nawaz Khan Naji, tore apart a copy of a resolution tabled by Law Minister Wazir Shakeel to show solidarity with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
The resolution stated that the premier had upheld the supremacy of law by appearing in the apex court thrice and that he could only be removed from his office through a no-confidence motion in parliament.
After the law minister read out the resolution, which was in English, the speaker tried to get it unanimously passed by the house, saying, “I think we should move to the next issue instead of wasting time by translating it into Urdu.”
However, Naji, who got elected from Ghizer district in last year’s by-elections, rose to his feet and lashed out at the law minister. “This is nonsense. You are all thieves and are protecting each other through such tactics,” he said, before tearing the resolution into pieces. “I condemn it and you should be ashamed of it,” he added.
Shocked by the unexpected reaction, the chief minister and his cabinet members were rendered speechless. However, a lawmaker from Baltistan, Engineer Ismail, retaliated and also tried to hit Naji with a file cover. “You are a thief, you are a dishonest person,” was his comeback.
Ismail was immediately joined by senior law minister Mohammad Jaffer and Chief Minister Mehdi Shah in lashing out at Naji.
Unable to control the ruckus, the speaker immediately called in the police and ordered them to escort Naji out. However, the deputy speaker intervened and managed to convince the speaker against getting the police involved.
Not willing to back down, Naji resumed his rant once again.
Speaker Baig called in the police again and had Naji removed.
While the deputy speaker tried once again to calm down the situation Baig said: “I have passed the judgment and this man should be removed from here immediately.” He added that he didn’t allow unparliamentary language in the sacred house.
Opposition lawmakers including Janbaz Khan of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Raja Azam finally succeeded in controlling Naji.
The speaker asked Opposition Leader Janbaz Khan if the resolution should be passed with majority votes.
“The verdict against the prime minster was announced by all the honourable judges of the bench but if you still want to have it passed by majority votes, it is up to you …you can do it,” he replied.
The speaker adjourned the proceedings till the next day.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2012.