Speaker seeks explanation from unruly MNAs

Notices to issues to three lawmakers for violating decorum of the house last week


Our Correspondent February 08, 2021
NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, PHOTO: Anadolu Agency/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Days after lawmakers scuffled in the lower house of the parliament, the National Assembly speaker has issued notices to Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Syed Naveed Qamar, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Chaudhry Hamid Hameed and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Attaullah and sought explanation from them for violating the decorum of the house.

Speaker Asad Qaiser issued notices to the three National Assembly members (MNAs) under Rule 21 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly 2007 after examining the evidence and pursuing record of the proceedings of February 4 — the day when lawmakers used most of their time in the assembly to spew a nonstop torrent of the most unparliamentary language possible.

The speaker chaired a meeting, convened to probe into the incident. Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, National Assembly Secretary, adviser to speaker on legal and constitutional affairs and other senior officers of the National Assembly Secretariat were present in the meeting.

Declaring the incident as “highly condemnable”, Qaiser said that being the custodian of the house, he would take appropriate action to maintain the order in the house, and regulate the proceedings in accordance with parliamentary practices and the rules of procedure.

He said that all the assembly members, belonging to the treasury or the opposition benches were under obligation to obey the rules and to maintain the decorum of the house in order to preserve the sanctity of the prestige of the house.

“The speaker after thorough examination of the record of proceedings and evidence, showed his resolve to maintain the sanctity of the house at every cost without prejudice and pressure,” stated an official statement issued after the meeting.

A day after the noisy session, Prime Minister Imran Khan met Suri, who was presiding over the proceedings when the scuffle broke out, and the PTI chief whip Amir Dogar to discuss the situation, arising after the unruly session of the lower house of the parliament.

The official statement only mentioned about the meeting. However, sources said, the participants of the meeting were of the view that scuffle around the speaker’s desk badly exposed opposition’s chaos and immature politics and action should be taken for what they have done.

On February 4, the usual “Chor, Daku, Corrupt” verbal spat reached to the next level when lawmakers hurled abuses and took part in a brawl that took place around the deputy speaker’s desk.

It all had started when PPP’s Naved Qamar rushed to Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri after he gave floor to three federal ministers – Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar – one after another without giving a chance to the opposition to voice their opinion.

Qamar not just rushed to Suri’s desk but turned his mic on; protested against unfair treatment and finally lifted another mic in his left hand seeing that an unfazed Suri, who had forget to turn his mic off, ignored him while trying to focus on Umar’s speech.

As other opposition members started gathering around the deputy speaker’s desk, PTI MNA Saifullah, Ataullah and several others also rushed to counter Qamar and others.

The scuffle broke out as the shouting and pushing match began. A couple of lawmakers fell to the floor but they stood up and re-joined the scuffle. Several lawmakers tried to separate the angriest among them and finally, Ataullah, while crossing the aisle between the leader of the House and the leader of the opposition hurled abuses at opposition.

The PML-N lawmaker, as shown in the photos, was holding a shoe in his hand and showing it to treasury benches. Hurling insults at each other is nothing new in the house but hearing the loud and clear abuses even forced PML-N’s Murtaza Javed Abbasi to rush to Ataullah’s seat and put his hand on his mouth to reduce its loudness.

Ataullah didn’t care about anything but Abbasi made sure that Ataullah was completely muffled. The damage, however, was done as unparliamentary language in the parliament prevailed during the session.

The situation arose during the debate on a proposed constitutional amendment for open vote in Senate elections, which was used for “exposing” the opposition, as admitted by the foreign minister, who agreed that the government did not have enough numbers to have the amendment passed.

The NA secretariat said that the notices were expected to be issued on Tuesday (today) and the next meeting would be called once the lawmakers submit their response as per the time given in the notices. The secretariat has not issued photos of the ruling party’s lawmaker or any other photos showing treasury benches’ role in the brawl.

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