Senate session again marred by ongoing Chaudhry-Mushahidullah spat

Published October 10, 2018
Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry speaking on the Senate floor — File
Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry speaking on the Senate floor — File

Yet another session of the Senate was disrupted on Wednesday because of the running spat between Minister of Information Fawad Chaudhry and PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan.

The episode was the latest in a series of arguments between the two triggered after Chaudhry targeted Mushahidullah on the floor of the National Assembly, accusing him of getting members of his family inducted into lucrative posts in the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) using latter's political clout.

A similar episode had taken place last week when the minister took the floor to 'explain' the remarks he had made in the National Assembly. Before he could offer the 'explanation', however, he was told by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and the PML-N senator to apologise.

When Chaudhry dodged the request, the Senate witnessed the unprecedented scene of a federal minister being asked to leave the upper house.

Today, as Chaudhry took the floor of the Senate again, Mushahidullah was quick to ask him to tender an apology.

To this, the information minister said that he would not apologise as the matter was being investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency.

"Then let the inquiry end before you come to parliament," retorted Mushahidullah.

"Senator Mushahidullah's whole family is in the PIA. There is no way I will apologise for what I said. I still stand by it," the information minister snapped back.

"If he manages to find six people from my family who are part of PIA, I will resign from my position," Mushahidullah replied, adding that if the information minister fails, he should be the one to resign from his position.

As the back and forth between the minister and the senator continued, Senator Raza Rabbani, the former chairman of the house, took the floor and said that the behaviour shown by both sides was unprecedented and unbecoming.

"I have been in the Senate for 26 years; never have I witnessed such an environment [in all that time]," he said.

"Such an environment has been created that Senate proceedings have to be postponed. In such circumstances, you [the Speaker] should exercise your authority," he continued.

Senator Rabbani also pointed out that the Senate chairman's ruling cannot be challenged.

Later, the Senate chairman managed to broker a tentative truce between the two sides. However, soon after that, Chaudhry issued what was allegedly a list of all the 'members' of Senator Mushahidullah's family who are currently employed by the PIA.

The two were back at it when the proceedings resumed.

Mushahidullah later complained that PM Imran Khan had “hurled threats during his press conference”.

The PML-N president was humiliated, he [Shahbaz] was summoned in one case but then arrested in a different case altogether, the senator said.

He said that many references are pending against the sitting ministers as well, yet no action was taken on them.

The senator demanded that Shahbaz should be released immediately and that he "should be praised for his services".

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