Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pakistan - Uproar in National Assembly – again!

Expletives and a brawl befoul the House
The cowed and stressed common man, already bowed down under the weight of myriad problems of everyday existence, witnessed another worrying rowdy exhibition of fisticuffs by the honourable members he has sent to the august House to make his wretched life a little more cheerful. In fact, these macho displays of outraged manhood and misconceived respectability, abuse, sloganeering, yelling and ripping up copies of agenda, are now spiralling, both inside and outside the Assembly. It is a scene that depresses and demoralises, apart from disrupting the rare occasions when quorum is complete, as such raucous scenes are invariably followed by a sulking walkout by the offended members, as has happened now. Sadly, the only issue which attracts a full House without fail and a touching unanimity is when the members are voting on raising their salaries and perks.
The ugly events of Thursday were the second round in the PML-N and PTI series of bouts after the hullaballoo of January 26 inside the Assembly, involving the Minister of Petroleum and a PTI member, which quickly drew in loyalists of both sides. The latest disturbing incident occurred outside the Assembly chamber in the lobby, but its roots lay in the earlier proceedings of the House and in the questionable role of the presiding Deputy Speaker, as well as in the running feud between the ruling family, wobbling under Panama leaks, and Imran Khan, who scents Sharif blood, and is baying for it. There are no national issues or matters of principle behind these sordid squabbles.
PML-N Javed Latif’s personal remarks about Imran Khan were excessive and could have been expunged to lower tensions, the Deputy Speaker behaved in an unfair, even biased manner towards the opposition, Murad Saeed’s behaviour outside the Assembly was condemnable, but the later Press comments of Javed Latif are indefensible as they diminish the decorum of Parliament. A committee has been formed to investigate and apportion blame. It is unfortunate that the Sharif-Imran jockeying for power has spilled into the House from the streets.

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