ISLAMABAD, Nov 6: Barred by the Islamabad High Court from appearing on TV channels, firebrand PPP Senator Faisal Raza Abidi again took his bitterness to the floor of the upper house on Tuesday — only to have his remarks against the Chief Justice of Pakistan expunged by the chair.
That fuelled the fury of Mr Abidi, known — and silenced — for his bluster and blunt attacks on his detractors. He rushed towards Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch who was rising after adjourning the session.
Before the sergeants-at-arm could, the agitated senator had scampered the presiding officer’s chair. “You can’t expunge. You can’t do it. Will you also deny me justice?” shouted Mr Abidi, pinning down Mr Baloch in his chair and asking him to reverse his ruling.
Some senators who had rushed to the dais in the meantime struggled to separate their colleague and calm him down. Although they managed to bring him down the dais, they failed to cool him down.
“Why are you recording when you have no courage to show it?” Mr Abidi taunted a PTV cameraman who was on duty inside the hall.
It all started when the deputy chairman gave floor to Mr Abidi to take part in the ongoing debate on the law and order situation in the country.
“I am the law and order. If I am not provided justice, I will become the biggest law and order issue after Ashura,” Mr Abidi said when he was interrupted by the chair asking him to focus on the topic.
Besides the chief justice, the media also became a target of the PPP senator’s harsh criticism. “We thought that the media in Pakistan was brave,” he said while pointing to the press gallery. “Look at me, I am a Pakistani who has been publicly barred from speaking.”
Mr Abidi asked the chair to summon the chairman of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) for putting a ban on the coverage of his press conferences and TV interviews because of his anti-judiciary stance.
“A house which cannot provide justice to a senator is discussing the law and order situation,” he mocked. The outspoken PPP senator, who apparently did not enjoy the support of his party over his anti-judiciary posture, threatened to “physically drag all those persons in the street” who were part of the “scheme to silence me”.
Mr Abidi had spoken on the same issue in the Senate last month and sought resignation of the chief justice for allegedly violating the code of conduct for judges. He had argued that by levelling serious allegations against the chief justice in different TV talk shows he had not violated any law because this right had been given to him by the Supreme Judicial Council.
He had complained that the FIA and police were holding investigations against him for using “filthy language” against the judiciary on the basis of a letter written by the Supreme Court registrar.
Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch, who was also presiding over the session at that time, had pointed out that under Rule 226, a senator could not name any judge, but had not expunged a single word uttered by Mr Abidi on the floor of the house.