Continuing the Sindh Assembly session initiated on Monday, the treasury and opposition members were embroiled in a lengthy verbal confrontation on Tuesday. The prolonged sparing and discord did not allow any logical statement to emerge in the session, and instead of focusing on the agendas of the session, the members engaged in a heated debate over who had uttered the word “dog” in an insulting manner during Monday’s session.
With over 630 cases being reported from across the province on average per day, dog-bites became the latest source of contention between the opposition and the treasury benches in the Sindh Assembly… https://t.co/XjoMHRe1pk
— Overseas Progressive Pakistanis, The Netherlands (@OPPtanzeem) November 19, 2019
The session, conducted on private member’s day, began with a loud commotion as the members began shouting insulting slogans in an informal language. The assembly hall was abuzz with slogans of “Aik takkay ke do Niazi, go Niazi, go Niazi”, and “Go Zardari go”. MPAs who were tasked with the responsibility of presenting bills and resolutions were embroiled in an insulting banter to ridicule one another.
Ruckus in Sindh Assembly
Sindh Assembly Speaker, Agha Siraj Durrani, attempted to maintain order and urged the members to avoid violating the dignity of the assembly with derogatory remarks and unbecoming language. He also observed that that the assembly witnessed a ruckus on Monday when lawmakers exchanged abusive insults over a debate on dog-bite cases in Sindh.
The Speaker said, “Yesterday, some members violated the decorum of this esteemed house. Some members recorded videos of the session and circulated them on social media. Durrani condemned this action and said, “Protesting is your right but you are not allowed to resort to derogatory language and abuses. The assembly is not a public gathering or a jalsa.
Durrani issued a strict warning that he will ban the use of mobile phones within the assembly if the members continue to make recordings and sharing them on social media. Addressing the members of the opposition, Durrani said, “I ignore your conduct when you are disrespectful towards me but please, respect the assembly and its rules.”
However, it appeared that Durrani’s warnings and requests fell upon deaf ears as the MPAs continued to engage in their verbal duel.
Who is at Fault?
Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla remarked that the conduct of the opposition in the previous session as “painful”.
He said, “They resorted to abusive remarks against the treasury members.” Mukesh added that everyone has a right to voice their opinions without violating the decorum. He said, “They called us dogs”, and demanded the opposition leader apologize to the assembly members.
Spokesperson Sindh Govt: @murtazawahab1 and Minister LG @SyedNasirHShah are addressing the press conference regarding stray dogs+anti rabbies vaccine issue at Sindh Assembly karachi pic.twitter.com/L5YOfZTqBs
— Rizwan Khan Sherani #PYO (@RizwanSherani44) November 15, 2019
Responding to Mukesh’s statements, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Arsalan Taj said that members from both sides had exchanged abusive remarks. However, Chawla dismissed his rebuttal and urged the speaker to examine the video recording of the previous session and establish a committee to launch an inquiry into the matter.
He claimed, “No member from the treasury benches made abusive remarks.” Mukesh added if the opposition leader fails to apologize on the floor of the house, they would move a privilege motion. Taj, in turn, claimed that Sharjeel Memon had made abusive remarks.
He said that while addressing the members of the opposition, Sharjeel Memon had said, “Why are you biting us? Is that not wrong”.
In response, the Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister denied the accusations and urged the speaker to examine the recording from the previous session and launch an inquiry into the matter. He stressed that the opposition leader must tender an apology to the treasury members, or else, they will have no choice but to “move a motion against the opposition.”
Chawla’s demand for an apology was supported by other MPAs and members of the Pakistan People’s Party.
The Problem of Dog Bites
Assuming the floor of the assembly, Opposition Leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi asked the Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah to apologize for his failure in tackling the problem of dog bites.
Naqvi said, “The Chief Minister must apologize to the people of Sindh over his failure to eliminate the problem of dog bites.” He claimed that more than 180,000 people in Sindh have been attacked by dogs, and many of them have died. These statements angered the PPP lawmakers who began protesting loudly.
This situation is alarming & PPP doesn’t bother even discussing the issue. We are losing lives each day due to the issue of dog bites in Sindh & PPP fails to uphold any kind of accountability. As we tried to discuss this issue in Assembly yesterday, PPP refuted stats & walked out pic.twitter.com/7SGOp4l9w0
— Haleem Adil Sheikh (@HaleemAdil) November 19, 2019
Despite the fact that Naqvi’s microphone was turned off, the Opposition leader continued with his speech. In rebuttal, Chawla said that instead of an apology from CM Sindh, Prime Minister Imran Khan must resign for “ruining the country’s economy.” He said, “If you can talk against the Chief Minister, then I too, have the right to criticize the premier.”
The mayhem between the treasury and opposition members continued, as Chawla refused to backtrack from his demand that the opposition should apologize. Naqvi dismissed his demands, and said, “Why should I tender an apology when I did not use the word dog?”
He challenged Chawla to examine the recording of the previous session and provide evidence of the allegations against him. The speaker observed that there is no harm in apologizing but it appeared that no one heard him given the loud commotion. The session was adjourned till Friday.