The Pakistan National Assembly witnessed some unruly scenes on Tuesday over Prime Minister Imran Khan Government’s budget proposals. During the sitting of the House, members of the treasury and opposition benches created chaos on the floor and even abused each other, according to a video of the incident. The proceedings of the lower house were adjourned by the Speaker after the incident.
The situation in the parliament led political commentators and analysts to question the state of Pakistani democracy. Dr. Shahbaz Gill, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Political Communication, told Dr. Moeed Pirzada in his show on 92 News that the tradition of creating mess in the assembly was introduced by the former ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), on the day Prime Minister Imran Khan took his oath.
While Dr. Shahbaz Gill expounds his political science theory of how PTI has become rogue & uncivilised under the bad influence of PMLN, Malik Ahmed Khan, like a naughty school boy, ignoring the moralising class teacher, plays with his mobile phone! pic.twitter.com/rGeVIYtIAm
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) June 15, 2021
“Let me tell you how all this started. When the premier took his oath in 2018, they [PML-N] did not allow him speak even a single word. We tried our best to remain calm but now we have decided to respond them in the same currency,” he said.
There is another view that the scenes in the parliament highlight political progress in the country where politicians and workers of mainstream political parties were seen fighting in the streets a year ago now seem to coming back to the parliament.
However, Dr. Moeed Pirzada created a poll on Twitter and asked: “So what do we think of “Pakistani Democracy’s War of Books” fought with Budget copies in National Assembly? Isn’t it better than fighting on streets, like we did between 1970 & 2014? Are we improving then?”
So what do we think of "Pakistani Democracy's War of Books" fought with Budget copies in National Assembly? Isn't it better than fighting on streets, like we did between 1970 & 2014? Are we improving then?
— Moeed Pirzada (@MoeedNj) June 15, 2021
According to the latest results, 1, 083 people shared their opinion and maintained that: No, Going Down (76.1%). Only 23.9% people think that “Yes, We Getting Civilized”.
Oppositon terms Imran Khan ‘selected’
The government argues that the opposition call Prime Minister Imran Khan selected which is ‘disgraceful’ and potentially blocks the every possible way for dialogue. Notably, Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was the first person who called him ‘selected’ prime minister while congratulating Imran Khan at the opening session of the National Assembly last year soon after the elections.
It was taken lightly initially without much reaction from Imran Khan’s quarters but since then almost every Opposition lawmaker has started calling him ‘selected’ instead of elected prime minister. This practice continued in the parliament and even during press conferences and television shows until Sunday when lawmakers were officially barred from calling Imran Khan ‘selected’ prime minister.
Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri had to issue the ruling, declaring the use of the word for the Leader of the House (Prime Minister) in the National Assembly an insult to the entire House.
He said using the word for the prime minister was contrary to the rules of procedure and conduct of business.
Deputy Speaker’s ruling came in response to a Point of Order raised by Minister for Energy Umer Ayub Khan. The minister said calling the Leader of the House “selected” was a breach of rules and an insult to the entire House. He said that the using the word ‘selected’ for a prime minister who was elected through a democratic process is an insult to the system.
Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan became prime minister of Pakistan after his party won 2018 elections with thumping majority with 123 seats out of total 272 contested general seats. The total number of seat in the National Assembly are 342 including 272 general seats, 60 reserves seats for women and 10 reserved seats for minorities.
“I did not climb on any dictator’s shoulders; I reached this place after struggling for 22 years,” Prime Minister Imran Khan had said after winning elections last year dispelling the impression that he was ‘installed’ by the army.