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LAHORE: The incident of shoe-throwing on former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and a similar alleged bid to target Imran Khan created some ripples in the Punjab Assembly on Monday where by the end of session everyone was condemning it and urging respect for all leaders. Murad Rass of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf initiated the discussion in the brief session, which ended with his opposition colleague Ahsan Riaz Fatyana pointing out quorum and the proceedings for the day ended.

“We all are political people and exposed to such vulgarity,” he told the house on a point of order. The PTI, as a party, condemned what happened to the former premier at Jamia Nameea, he said. However, he added, the PTI had some concerns regarding the man held by its workers at the Faisalabad reception for Imran Khan who was allegedly sent by son-in-law of law minister Rana Sanaullah to throw a shoe at Khan.

“I only want to say that this kind of attitude will only complicate things. We need to calm down and respect each other,” Rass told the house in a sober tone. His gesture was reciprocated by Tahir Sindhu, the minorities affairs minister, in the same tone.

“I totally deny the allegation on behalf of Rana Sanaullah: the man was never sent by him, nor told to throw anything on Khan. I also completely agree with Mr Rass that we all need to keep our cool and brave the situation,” Mr Sindhu said.

The chair also advised everyone: “Respect is mutual. You respect others to get respect. There is no us or them when it comes to respect, which should stay supreme even when political differences have to be settled.”

Apart from the decency that both sides pleaded on Monday, the opposition was furious on the new delimitation of constituencies. The opposition leader, Mahmoodur Rashid, was of the view that even bylaws of the Election Commission on delimitation were being violated.

“Constituencies are being divided and sub-divided to the political and electoral detriment of the party (PTI). This will not go unchallenged, we will go to the Election Commission, even courts, to get it corrected,” he warned. Sindhu again rose to say that the PML-N, as a party, had nothing to do with it. “It (PML-N) rather has a lot of reservations on the new delimitation. Every constituency is being redrawn and everyone is not happy, including the PML-N.”

Speaker Rana Iqbal also joined the fray, saying that his own constituency had been split under the new delimitation, adding it was a common problem now for all candidates.

The debate was still on when Mr Fatyana asked the chair to count the members in the house, who were found to be less than 30. The chair ordered five minutes bell ringing but to no avail. The speaker had no option but to adjourn the house.

He adjourned it for Wednesday morning, skipping Tuesday.

RESOLUTION: The PML-N on Monday filed a resolution in the Punjab Assembly condemning hurling a shoe at Nawaz Sharif and throwing ink on Finance Minister Khwaja Asif.

PML-N MPA Hina Pervaiz Butt submitted the resolution in the assembly. It said this House strongly condemned both incidents which had defamed Pakistan at international level. Such trends should be curbed as there had been no justification for such protests in a civilised society.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2018