Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan received scathing criticism from women parliamentarians belonging to both sides of the political aisle in the lower house on Monday over his remarks on women elected on reserved seats not representing their constituencies.
The MNAs from both the opposition and treasury benches demanded a privilege motion against Khan for “disrespecting the house”.
“I was shocked to hear such remarks from the man who claims to be the future leader of Pakistan,” said MNA Shehnaz Wazir Ali.
Speaking on a point of order, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Anusha Rehman raised the issue against a backdrop of thumping of desks in her support.
Referring to Khan as “that cricketer,” Rehman questioned the PTI leader’s contribution towards parliamentary development and democracy during the time he was a member of the house.
PML-Q Likeminded member Kashmala Tariq also condemned Khan’s statement. She said that the PTI chief was speaking against more than half of his party’s potential vote bank. “We achieved this representation in parliament after a long struggle. It is our constitutional right,” said Kashmala.
Shehnaz Wazir Ali stressed that the women on reserved seats come through a political process and represent the people of Pakistan, particularly women. “I was shocked to hear that Imran Khan wants to push more than half the country’s population back behind closed doors,” said Ali.
Quoting Article 51 of the Constitution, Law Minister Farooq H Naek told the house that the Constitution clearly provides for 60 seats for women. “It was their (women parliamentarians’) right to demand a privilege motion,” said Naek, adding that it was, however, the speaker’s prerogative to allow or reject it.
Speaking on a point of order, Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) member Waseem Akhtar condemned the contempt of court order by the Supreme Court against his party chief Altaf Hussain. He said the order was received and would be replied to in due time by the party’s legal team.
On the controversial delimitations issue, Akhtar said it was not the court’s but election commission’s mandate to decide on the matter. Also, a consensus was necessary before any delimitation exercise, according to the Constitution, he added.
The MQM member was reminded by the deputy speaker that under Article 68 of the Constitution, “conduct of any judge of the Supreme Court or the High Court cannot be debated in parliament.”
Akhtar, however, insisted that the matter was on public record after the decision of the court was out and he commented on the order not on the judges’ conduct.
The chair, however, ordered to expunge words from Akhtar’s speech, which he interpreted as derogatory or not suitable for discussion in parliament.
During the proceedings, Law Minister Naek introduced the 23rd Constitutional Amendment Bill 2012 in the house which seeks an increase in the number of reserved seats for minorities from 10 to 14 in the National Assembly. The amendment bill was sent to the relevant committee for further discussion.
Minister for Water and Power Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar introduced two bills to amend the Electricity Act 1910 and the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 (The Electricity Amendment Bill 2012) and the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898 (The Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2012). The bills suggest stricter punishments for electricity theft besides other amendments.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2012.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ