Treasury MNA’s foul remarks plunge NA into commotion

Opposition enraged after treasury lawmaker hurls abuse at Zartaj

Our Correspondent May 16, 2024
Tariq Bashir Cheema and Zartaj Gul. PHOTO: FILE


Commotion ruled the floor of the National Assembly on Thursday after bitter exchanges between Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) member Tariq Bashir Cheema and Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) lawmaker Zartaj Gul.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, who chaired the session, resolved the issued after hectic rounds of conversations with both sides and was expected to give his ruling on Friday (today), in which he might suspend Cheema for the inappropriate remarks he spoke to Gul.

The commotion started when Cheema took the floor during debate on the presidential address. He got angry when Iqbal Afridi interrupted his speech. This led to heated exchanges between Cheema and Afridi and Gul.

Later on, Cheema went towards Gul and spoke something to her. On that Gul, in very loud voice, accused Cheema of using swear words. Soon, the house plunged into chaos as the opposition rose to protest against Cheema, who had left the assembly hall.

The enraged opposition members tried to go to the government lobby, forcing the speaker to call security to avoid escalation. When the situation became tense, the speaker adjourned the session till Friday (today) morning.

SIC chief Hamid Raza also joined the opposition lawmakers in front of the government lobby, while senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also reached there to placate them. Later, the SIC members went to speaker’s chamber.

Afridi told the speaker that Cheema used foul language against Gul, adding that they demanded termination of his membership for insulting a woman lawmaker. The speaker also heard other PTI leaders including Barrister Gauhar, Asad Qaiser, Omar Ayub and Mehmood Khan Achakzai.

Gul was in tears while narrating the incident to the speaker. She said that she would not leave the chamber until Cheema’s membership was terminated. Sadiq assured Gul of taking strict action against Cheema, but asked the opposition to show flexibility for an amicable resolution of the issue.

Later, the opposition demanded that Cheema be suspended for the entire budget session and apologise to Gul on the floor of the house. On that the speaker assured the SIC delegation that Cheema would tender apology.

A meeting of the treasury and opposition leaders was also held in the speaker’s chamber in which Cheema was also called. The speaker asked Cheem to apologise to Gul. Other treasury lawmakers also urged Cheema to tender apology.

On that Cheema apologised to Gul, saying that he was sorry for the words he used against her. Gul accepted his apology and the issue was resolved, according to a National Assembly spokesperson. However, sources said that Cheema still faced suspension from the proceedings.

According to the sources the speaker showed his willingness to suspend Cheema for the current session. The opposition leaders said that a motion to suspend Cheema’s membership would be presented in the National Assembly on Friday (today).

Talking to the media afterwards, PTI chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan said that the opposition was trying to ensure good environment in the assembly but they were being provoked by the treasury. On the occasion, Gul thanked the opposition for supporting her. “No one is allowed to misbehave with me.”

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