Opposition walks out as defence minister refuses to name Mazari in apology over insulting comments

Published: June 9, 2016
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Khawaja Asif speaks during the National Assembly session on Thursday. SCREEN GRAB

Khawaja Asif speaks during the National Assembly session on Thursday. SCREEN GRAB

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Thursday issued an unconditional apology to National Assembly speaker for jearing PTI leader Shireen Mazari in the house on Wednesday.

However, Asif did not name the PTI leader in his apology, causing the opposition to walkout from the assembly.

Ayaz Sadiq read out the written apology during the parliamentary session.

Ruckus in NA as defence minister calls Shireen Mazari ‘tractor trolley’

However, Shireen Mazari refused to accept the apology, saying Asif must apologise to her, in the house and in front of all lawmakers.

SCREEN GRAB

Targeting the PTI leader, Asif on Wednesday, pointed towards Mazari and said, “Someone make this tractor trolley keep quiet” when she and other lawmakers protested to his speech on loadshedding during Ramazan.

Asif, who also holds the portfolios of water & power, ridiculed Dr Mazari for her appearance and unusual voice. Surprisingly, he stubbornly refused to apologise for his unprecedented taunt.

“I was heckled,” the angry minister said justifying his abusive comments.

“It will be better if you first transform your masculine voice into a more feminine one,” Asif told Mazari during a water and power discussion in NA.

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Speaking to Express News, Mazari said, “It seems as if Khawaja Asif comes into the National Assembly with only one motive these days and that is to target PTI.”

However, the PTI leader said the party will not keep quiet. “Being a minister, he should know how to speak to women, but sadly he doesn’t. I choose to ignore such people,” disappointed in her fellow lawmaker, Mazari said.

“An ill-mannered person is government’s minister. Khawaja Asif lacks morals and ethics,” she added.

National Assembly session

Meanwhile, addressing the session of National Assembly on Thursday, Asif said he tendered apology for his excessive behaviour,. adding no one should “seek refuge behind a gender.”

“We preach gender equality but lose no opportunity to take refuge behind a particular gender as an act of convenience on such occasions,” the federal minister remarked.

The minister added heckling was a part of the parliamentary culture and process and does not involve genders.

Rejecting the apology, Mazari said Asif did not mention her name while apologising, contrary to what he had done earlier.

However, the minister denied the same and offered to “apologise a 100 times if he had mentioned any names.”

Nafisa Shah condemns Asif’s ‘sexist’ remarks

Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Nafisa Shah said sexism was intolerable.

SCREEN GRAB

“If you continuously insult any of our colleagues on the basis of their appearance, voice and gender then it is not only the insult of that particular individual but the insult of the entire House,” she said while addressing the National Assembly on Thursday.

“As women we felt insulted. Although he [Asif] didn’t take [any] name but his continuous reference was clear and it was Sheeren Mazari. She was criticised on the basis of her voice and gender.”

The opposition lawmaker also gave reference of a similar event in the UK parliament and asked the NA speaker to take action on the issue.

“Recently a UK parliamentarian had called the British Prime Minister David Cameron ‘Dodgy Dave’ during a parliamentary session upon which the speaker asked him to immediately retract his statement and apologise and when the lawmaker refused he was suspended and thrown out of the assembly,” she said.

“We expect you as a speaker to take similar action.”

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Nawaz
    Jun 9, 2016 - 11:53AM

    Khwaja Asif is cut from the cheapest cloth from Anarkali BazaarRecommend

  • Sodomite
    Jun 9, 2016 - 12:26PM

    Kh. Asif needs Psychiatric help to reform himself. Not an apology. Recommend

  • optimistic
    Jun 9, 2016 - 12:36PM

    Sorry if one can’t hear then don’t provoke. Anyways he should say sorry . Recommend

  • qaiser ahmed
    Jun 9, 2016 - 1:53PM

    Most of all and I suspect the MNA’s themselves have no idea, or even care, what is being said or discussed at any given time in our national assembly. Notwithstanding this environment in the national assembly, we must not lose our stance on civility.

    The recent derogatory and gutter language outburst of Khawaja Asif, Minister of Defence& Water and Power, directed towards Shireen Mirza of PTI, is shameful.
    As Minister of Water and Power, he was trying to be eloquent, in certain quarters he is considered to be an eloquent speaker, in justifying the load-shedding trend to the Awam. We know it will happen and it happens and it will keep on happening, so stating that it will not happen, is simply not true.

    In the same light, that is justifying one’s position, KA, as “Defence Minister”, failed to provide an eloquent explanation towards the recent DRONE incursion into our sovereign space.
    Mr. Defence minister, the Awam does not need sugar coating on load shedding, but an action plan you need to implement to deter and destroy any incursion, land or air, of our SOVEREIGNTY.Recommend

  • Dr.M.M.Khan
    Jun 9, 2016 - 1:58PM

    Democracy expects decent behaviour from a minister esp.when he is addressing the Parliament. Yes there is freedom of expression but not to insult. What message has the minister sent to the people in the street about the opposite gender. His apology is vague. The speaker’s behaviour leaves a lot to be desired. He should have suspended the minister straight away. The minister needs a course in behaviour therapy and the speaker in protocol!
    It is ramzan now Shireen. Please forgive and move on. I understand your hurt. To err is human–to forgive divine..Recommend

  • farhan
    Jun 9, 2016 - 6:58PM

    amazing to see reactions of so called ‘civilized people’ over here. what about the abusive language of PTI leaders and kaptaan sb in their speeches ?? You guys never react on those! people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones…!!
    should always call a wrong a wrong.Recommend

  • ali
    Jun 9, 2016 - 8:18PM

    @farhan: why do you always have to compare yourself with what PTI does. That means if PTI is doing something wrong you should do the same? . Your pathetic if you think tht way. And for your information Asif abused inside the parliament. He is the Defense Minister of Pakistan. He has much higher responsibility to maintain Ethics in the assembly. There is a difference. Stop comparing apple to oranges. Recommend

  • H Chaudhry
    Jun 9, 2016 - 9:41PM

    No need to sorry! The other side need to learn manners and not provoke. Imran started all this! Taste of their own medicine. Time to move on. Apologies should start from Imran or there is no need.Recommend

  • Parvez
    Jun 9, 2016 - 9:49PM

    The PML-N should understand that wearing expensive suits and wristwatches does not make them gentlemen……nor hide the closeted bigots most of them are.Recommend

  • Hello
    Jun 10, 2016 - 3:00AM

    @qaiser ahmed:
    Very eloquent but you seem to be a spokesperson of PTI. So let us know.Recommend

  • Hello
    Jun 10, 2016 - 3:03AM

    @Dr.M.M.Khan:
    “…to forgive divine.” Does she know what divine is?Recommend

  • Over reaction
    Jun 10, 2016 - 4:28AM

    Over reaction to K. Asif’s remarks is politically motivated. After all, tractor trolley is not an expletive.
    Besides, Asif was reacting to being heckled and to being interrupted repeatedly. Everyone should be heard and Shireen could have criticized on her turn.
    Now, apology should be accepted and they should move on.
    It has become fashionable to exploit things as issues of gender and to claim equality of sexes at the same time. Hypocritical.Recommend

  • Saleem
    Jun 10, 2016 - 1:42PM

    Deliberate distraction from Panama Leak specifically done KA because everyone know he is a low life and no will suspect any other motive behind itRecommend

  • So
    Jun 10, 2016 - 10:43PM

    So everything being done now is to distract from Panama leaks? Be careful about calling anyone low life.Recommend

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