ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Tuesday witnessed a rumpus over alleged distortion of Islamic history by Prime Minister Imran Khan, which prompted the chair to first suspend the proceedings for 15 minutes and finally to adjourn the house till Wednesday (today).
It all started when Attaur Rahman of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), while taking part in the budget discussion, accused Prime Minister Khan of distorting history of Sahaba (Companions) of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and used objectionable words about the premier.
Leader of the House Syed Shibli Faraz rose in his seat and said: “We are not here to listen to decrees.” He said the JUI-F senator was inciting religious disharmony.
“He is spreading religious hatred,” he remarked and criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) for keeping mum on a speech like this.
Interestingly, Senate’s Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala, who belongs to the PPP, was chairing the session.
While the chair kept on asking Senator Rahman to speak on the budget, he insisted on speaking about Mr Khan, warning that nobody would be able to speak if he was not allowed to talk. “Put the house in order so that I could speak,” he asked the chair.
Even after the chair called the next speaker’s name, Mr Rahman continued to speak in an atmosphere fraught with tension.
The chair adjourned the proceedings for 15 minutes and then Bahramanad Tangi of the PPP started his speech. He said that Mr Khan used to criticise Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari saying that the people did not pay taxes due to their corruption. He said he had claimed that the people would pay taxes when he would come into power and he will give them relief in return.
Mr Tangi could not continue his speech as Senator Rahman entered the hall and disrupted the proceedings. “First I will complete my speech and then somebody else could get a turn,” he said.
He said the house belonged to all and every senator had a right to speak there.
A confused deputy chairman wondered how the budget debate would go on in an environment like this. “I have no option but to adjourn this house,” Mr Mandviwala remarked and adjourned the house to meet again at 4.30pm on Wednesday.
Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019