Media, Tiktokers face NA speaker’s wrath

Cheema suspended over incident with Gul

Rizwan Shehzad   May 17, 2024
NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. PHOTO: ONLINE


The National Assembly on Friday suspended Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) legislator Tariq Bashir Cheema from the current session following his alleged abusive discourse towards PTI’s Zartaj Gul Wazir.

NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq put forward a motion to suspend Cheema for the remainder of the session. He explained, “An unfortunate incident took place between Tariq Cheema and Zartaj Gul.”

The motion cited Cheema's violation of Rule 30 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007, which prohibits members from eroding the “sanctity” or “dignity” of the house. Sadiq invoked Rule 21, allowing the speaker to suspend members who abuse the rules “if he deems it necessary”.

Sadiq elaborated, “He thereby eroded the sanctity of the house […] thereby disregarding the authority of the chair and abusing the rules and willfully […] obstructing the proceedings.” The motion passed with overwhelming support from the MNAs present.

Speaker Sadiq commended the members for their cooperation and assured efforts to maintain order in the house. Following Cheema’s exclusion from the session, Zartaj Gul expressed her gratitude on X, thanking the parliament for its support after the “upsetting incident”.

She posted, “Yesterday, a very upsetting incident took place in the National Assembly.” She added that Cheema’s entrance to the House was barred by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq. “Thank you Parliament of Pakistan,” she wrote.

The controversy began when Cheema, during his speech on Thursday, was interrupted by Gul, who suggested he discuss the Bahawalpur University case involving his son. Later, as Cheema returned to his seat after a conversation with PTI’s Ali Muhammad Khan, a remark from Gul reportedly angered him. Cheema approached Gul's seat and was seen whispering something to her.

The situation escalated when PTI-SIC members rushed towards the treasury benches, with some attempting to physically confront Cheema, who was then escorted out by treasury MNAs. The opposition gathered in front of the speaker’s dais, protesting and alleging that Cheema used objectionable and abusive language.

Read Cheema's NA membership reinstated after brief suspension

PTI lawmakers subsequently met with Speaker Sadiq, demanding Cheema's suspension.

Cheema later offered an unconditional apology to Gul, which she accepted. PTI chairman Barrister

Gohar Ali Khan confirmed the development to the media but also announced the party's intention to move forward with the motion for Cheema's suspension.

Enhanced security on NA premises

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif called for bolstered security within the National Assembly (NA) building and its premises.

Noting the presence of numerous unidentified individuals within the premises, the minister pointed out congregations near the entrance, elevators, and corridors, citing significant security concerns.

He said it was important to strictly implement the past practice of issuing passes to NA members to uphold parliamentary security.

Asif stressed that robust security measures were imperative to prevent any potential untoward incidents, referencing the Bisham suicide attack on March 26.

Expressing dismay over disruptive behaviour in the gallery, the minister lamented individuals engaging in sloganeering, which he asserted “undermines the sanctity of the House”.

NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq disclosed previous verbal instructions and a subsequent notice dated May 14 from the NA secretariat.

According to the notice, Gate No. 1 is to remain clear of visitors and staff to facilitate unimpeded passage for parliamentarians and to deter unnecessary crowding. It sternly warns that any lapses within the security apparatus leading to failure in duty shall result in disciplinary action.

Furthermore, the notice explicitly prohibits the presence of TikTokers, YouTubers, Vloggers, and unaccredited social media activists around the Parliament House, emphasizing the disruption caused to parliamentarians and the recording of videos within or outside the galleries.

The directive advocates for stringent security protocols to identify and expel non-conforming individuals from the premises and confiscate electronic devices from those engaging in unauthorized activities.
Additionally, it outlines measures to restrict Senate pass holders from accessing the NA and mandates random checks for valid entry passes.

Gate No. 1 will see increased security personnel, while main gate security will be reinforced to prevent unauthorised entry.

The Ministry of Interior, Islamabad Police, and other law enforcement agencies will collaborate with NA Security to manage the influx of visitors from the outer gates of the Parliament House


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