'Does Shahbaz want to spend more time in jail?': PM's assistant warns PML-N leader over 'misbehaviour'

Updated January 24, 2019

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Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq warns Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif against targeting Imran Khan with "personal attacks". ─ File photo
Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Political Affairs Naeemul Haq warns Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif against targeting Imran Khan with "personal attacks". ─ File photo

In a late night Twitter tirade on Wednesday, the Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Political Affairs Naeemul Haque warned Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif against targeting Prime Minister Imran Khan with "personal attacks", asking if the PML-N leader wanted to "spend more time in jail sulking".

Haque's tweets followed a noisy National Assembly session during which Finance Minister Asad Umar delivered his second budget speech amid an exchange of insults and taunts with opposition parties.

The prime minister, who was last seen in the assembly on Oct 3, entered the house at a time when Sharif was lambasting the federal and the Punjab governments over handling of the Sahiwal incident.

"Imran Khan had himself stated in the past that the then Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif should resign and the then home minister Rana Sanaullah should be arrested [over the police action in Model Town]. Now according to his own words, first the prime minister should submit his resignation and then (Punjab Chief Minister) Usman Buzdar should resign," Sharif had said amid desk-thumping by the opposition members.

He also taunted the prime minister for attending a National Assembly sitting after more than three and a half months, and called him "the selected prime minister".

Haque in his tweets lashed out at Sharif and the opposition for allegedly violating an agreement "reached before presentation of the finance bill by Asad".

"Time to revoke Shahbaz's production order," the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader tweeted. "Does he want his production order to be revoked? Last chance," he added in another tweet.

"Shahbaz better decide if he wants to play a positive role in NA and instruct his chamchas (sycophants) to behave," he warned. "How dare he and his chamchas make personal attacks on PM in the NA."

"Does he want to spend more time in jail sulking?" he asked.

The PTI leader argued that the issuing of production orders for Sharif is not meant to facilitate his attending NA sessions to "abuse the PM and encourage his chamchas to do the same".

Haque suggested Sharif commit to abiding by the decisions of the Ethics Committee and the Rules of Business.

Sharif is currently in custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with the Aashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case. PTI's Asad Qaiser, the NA speaker, must issue production orders for Sharif so that he can attend NA sessions.

Read more: Speaker still struggling with formation of NA committees

The PTI government had, after a nearly four-month-long impasse, also conceded chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee to the PML-N president in December at the request of the opposition.

The hold-up had forced the speaker to stop the process of formation of the committees due to the opposition’s threat to boycott these bodies if the ruling party did not offer the chairmanship to Sharif as per "parliamentary traditions".

The delay in the formation of over three dozen committees had badly affected the legislative work of parliament, and the NA which came into existence in August after the general elections held in July had been functioning with only two committees, including the PAC.