ICMD, Nov 5, 2018

Fracas erupted in the National Assembly on Monday as government and opposition members exchanged hot words and almost got into a physical altercation over the latter calling a deal with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) to end violent protests against acquittal of Asia Bibi a ‘surrender’, and, in a taunting reference to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s surname (Niazi), compared the agreement to the surrender document signed by Gen AAK Niazi that led to the creation of Bangladesh in 1971.

Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) legislator from Karachi Syed Rafiullah and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker from Layyah Abdul Majeed Khan exchanged words and even attempted to get physical but were stopped by their fellow members. The speaker called the sergeants-at-arms to expel both the members from the House. However, after failing to control the situation, he adjourned the sitting till Tuesday (today).

Earlier, both PML-N and PPP demanded that the ruling party share the details of the agreement reached out with the protestors. Both parties were of the view that the government didn’t take them into confidence before inking the deal. They demanded that Prime Minister Imran Khan and State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi personally apprise the House about the details of the agreement.

Beginning the debate, PML-N leader and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the protestors used offensive language about the armed forces and the judges and that Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to the nation had said that action would be taken against them. “Now after the agreement, the government should tell the House how the deal will be implemented,” he said, adding that the government’s approach on the issue appears to be ‘utterly non-seriousness’.

PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah said his party’s government also confronted sit-ins during its five years of rule. “However, PM’s speech and the ensuing dealare totally opposite to each other,” he said, and demanded that the government reveal whereabouts of Asia Bibi since the apex court has already ordered her release from the prison.

Appreciating the SC judgment in the Asia Bibi case, PPP leader Shazia Marri said her party also wanted answers of some questions over the three days of blockade across the country.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said the protest and the agreement with the TLP was a sensitive issue because it was related to the respect of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). He clarified that the government had nothing to do with the Asia Bibi issue as the case was decided by the Supreme Court, which is an independent institution. He said the government will defend 295-C in both the houses of the parliament. He said the government will take action against those who took law in their own hands and damaged the public and private properties during the protests. -- DT