A ruckus erupted in the National Assembly on Wednesday when Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif hurled offensive remarks at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Dr Shireen Mazari during proceedings of the House.
Members from both treasury and opposition benches hooted against each other following a verbal spat between Asif and Mazari. This all started following statement of the Minister that zero load-shedding was being observed across the country during Sehri and Aftar times.
The opposition also chanted, “shame, shame, lie, lie” slogans in response to the Minister’s zero load-shedding claim.
Minister, however, specifically targeted the PTI chief whip Shireen Mehrunnisa Mazari and made some derogatory remarks including, “make her (Mazari’s) voice more feminine,” while some treasury members shouted, “keep quiet, aunty.”
The opposition members, especially female MNAs of the PTI and PPP, rose to their seats in protest and asked the Minister to take back his words and apologise for his indecent remarks about Mazari.
The ruckus continued for about 20 minutes until Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq intervened to bring order in the house.
The speaker also requested the opposition members to wait for their turn to speak on the budget or whatever issue they would like to speak on.
“Wait until it is your turn to respond,” said the speaker. The protest, however, continued as Asif plainly refused to apologise or take back his words.
PPP member Naveed Qamar also requested Asif to take back his words; so that debate on the budget could be resumed. Asif, however, responded, “I am not going to apologise; they can do whatever they want.”
Khawaja Asif also said that he respects women, but “a woman should herself take care of her respect too.” Mazari strongly protested against the minister’s remarks and asked repeatedly to take stock of the latter’s remarks about the women parliamentarians.
The speaker, however, ordered Mazari and other members protesting against the minister to sit down and speak to Asif on the budget.
After strong protest by the women parliamentarians of the opposition benches, the speaker ordered to expunge words of Khawaja Asif from proceeding of the house.
Mazari, however, lauded the speaker’s ‘unbiased’ role in conducting proceedings of the house and said they have no issue with him, but he should keep a check on the language being used against the women parliamentarians by a minister.
Earlier, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) members staged walkout from the House in protest against the besieging of the residence of senior party leader Dr Farooq Sattar in Karachi on Tuesday.
Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui of MQM pointed out that residence of senior MQM leader Farooq Sattar was besieged yesterday in Karachi.
He alleged the MQM is being victimised as it is being targeted in ongoing operation. Afterward, MQM members staged walkout from the House. –Business Recorder