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Squabbling Senators nearly come to blows

Updated June 20, 2019

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The Senate on Wednesday witnessed a rare scene with at least seven sergeants at arms helpless to control furious members from treasury and opposition benches coming almost to blows. — APP/File
The Senate on Wednesday witnessed a rare scene with at least seven sergeants at arms helpless to control furious members from treasury and opposition benches coming almost to blows. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: As the controversy over Prime Minister Imran Khan’s alleged distortion of Islamic history refuses to die, the Senate on Wednesday witnessed a rare scene with at least seven sergeants at arms helpless to control furious members from treasury and opposition benches coming almost to blows.

It all started when Maulana Attaur Rahman of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) was allowed to speak following a proposal by the Leader of Opposition Raja Zafarul Haq, who had talked about smooth proceedings with a spirit of understanding each other.

When Maulana Atta started to criticise the prime minister for his remarks about Sahaba, Leader of the House Syed Shibli Faraz said he was violating the agreement that he would restrict his speech to the finance bill.

Read: Rumpus in Senate as member accuses PM of distorting history

Mr Faraz protested over what he called the criminal silence of the members of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) over the objectionable utterances by the JUI-F senator, saying they were negating ideologies of their respective parties.

At this Mushahid Ullah Khan of PML-N rose from his seat and said that everybody in this house has the right of freedom of expression. “You cannot bulldoze any one.”

He said it was a unique example in the world that the treasury was playing the role of the opposition. He said Maulana Attaur Rahman was right because the prime minister had distorted Islamic history.

Moula Bukhsh Chandio of the PPP said that it was not the opposition’s lone responsibility to run the house rather it was also of treasury benches. The remarks which disturbed atmosphere of the house should be avoided, he said.

Maulana Attaur Rahman was repeatedly asked to speak on the budget, but he targeted the prime minister.

At one stage Nauman Wazir of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was seen advancing towards Maulana Attaur Rahman apparently in protest. Many members, including Raza Rabbani and Moula Bukhsh Chandio, rose in their seats to intervene. Mr Rabbani had an altercation with Nauman Wazir and was heard in the galleries as saying “don’t touch me”.

Members from both the sides of aisle gathered close to Maulana Attaur Rahman and Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had to ask the sergeants at arms to force them to take their seats.

Even the sergeants at arms could not control the situation and the house was adjourned to meet again on Thursday.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2019