ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Wednesday issued a letter to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA from Karachi Faheem Khan, seeking an explanation from him for allegedly creating disturbance during the recent proceedings of the house.
“A letter under Rule 21 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007, has been issued to Faheem Khan over the unpleasant incident occurred during the assembly proceedings on Feb 23,” says an official announcement by the National Assembly Secretariat.
The official handout quoted the speaker to have stated that he would not let anyone spoil the sanctity of the house and would take action against whosoever would disrupt the proceedings.
In the last two sittings of the assembly, the PTI MNAs from Karachi had created an embarrassing situation for the government and the speaker by disrupting the proceedings through their noisy protest over the alleged attack on Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh in Karachi. The protesting MNAs continued to raise slogans against the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which is the ruling party in Sindh, despite repeated warnings by the speaker.
On Monday, the speaker had to adjourn the sitting when the opposition responded to the protest in the same manner and later pointed out lack of quorum after staging a walkout.
MNA adopted rowdy behaviour during noisy protest in house
Some PTI lawmakers, including Faheem Khan, were seen rushing towards the opposition benches in an aggressive manner for a fight with opposition members, but they were stopped by some backbenchers. The PTI legislators wanted to target PPP MNA Agha Rafiullah, also from Karachi, who was constantly provoking them by responding to their slogans and passing some personal remarks against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Faheem Khan is the fourth MNA, second belonging to the ruling PTI, who had been issued letters under Rule 21 in the past two weeks for their rowdy bahaviour.
Earlier on Feb 8, the speaker, while taking notice of hooliganism by the members during the assembly session on Feb 4, had issued letters to Syed Naveed Qamar of the PPP, Chaudhry Hamid Hameed of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Attaullah of the PTI.
Rule 21 says: “The Speaker may, if he deems it necessary, name a member who disregards the authority of the Speaker or abuses these rules by consistently and willfully obstructing the business of the Assembly. (2) If a member is so named by the Speaker, he shall forthwith put the question that the member (naming him) be suspended from the service of the Assembly for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session: Provided that the Assembly may, at any time, on a motion made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.”
The NA had witnessed unprecedented scenes during the session on Feb 4 when members from both sides of the aisle created ruckus and kept on shouting, sloganeering, naming, thumping desks, whistling, scuffling and even abusing each other almost continuously during more than three-hour long sitting during an inconclusive debate on the controversial constitution amendment bill seeking open Senate vote.
For quite some time, the deputy speaker was even forced to run the assembly proceedings while sitting amid a ring of sergeants after a brawl among the lawmakers in front of his dais where the opposition members had gathered to lodge protest against the chair for running the house one-sidedly and not giving them the floor.
The house witnessed a scuffle between the treasury and opposition members when PTI MNAs Attaullah and Faheem Khan rushed to the protesting opposition members who had besieged the deputy speaker.
Published in Dawn, February 25th, 2021