PML-N leaders, PTI workers come to blows outside NA ahead of PM trust vote
Tensions between opposition lawmakers and government ran high on Saturday as PML-N leaders alleged they had been manhandled by PTI supporters outside the Parliament House.
PML-N leaders — including Ahsan Iqbal, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Khurram Dastagir and Musadiq Malik — were speaking to the media ahead of a special session of the National Assembly that was called for a vote of confidence for Prime Minister Imran Khan. The premier, who needed 172 votes to win the confidence vote, secured 178 votes.
PML-N, along with other opposition parties, boycotted the session.
The opposition leaders condemned the premier, saying that he had lost the confidence of the masses, while PTI supporters chanted slogans in favour of PM Imran. Former premier Abbasi said that the PM did not have the power to go for a trust vote according to the Constitution, adding that this power rested with the president only if he believed the premier had lost confidence of the legislature.
After the presser, the PML-N leaders alleged they were harassed and manhandled by PTI supporters present at the site, adding that there was no police or security for their protection.
Several videos of the brawl emerged showing PML-N leaders Malik and Abbasi angrily charging at PTI supporters and pushing them away. Another clip showed Iqbal being hit by a shoe from afar while PML-N supporters around him raised slogans in favour of party supremo Nawaz Sharif.
After the scuffle, PML-N alleged that its leaders, including Aurangzeb, were physically manhandled by PTI supporters. A fuming Abbasi said such behaviour was reflective of the PTI's tactics and challenged them to a face off on the road "in front of the cameras".
Aurangzeb also raged against the government, saying that "there is no prime minister in this country; instead there is a thug, bully and a terrorist".
"They want to secure a vote of confidence through bullying and terrorism," she said.
However, the PM's focal person on digital media, Arslan Khalid, claimed that the PML-N leaders began the scuffle by attacking PTI supporters around them, adding that the media was "misreporting the facts".
Following the allegations, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz lauded her party's leaders for "fighting back against vote thieves and thugs like lions".
"It makes sense to lose your mind like this after facing humiliating defeats one after the other and from every side," she tweeted.
Independent MNA Mohsin Dawar, who is part of the opposition, also condemned the alleged attack on PML-N leaders, saying, "This takes PTI thuggery to a new high from 2014. It's a dangerous precedent & is taking situation towards direct confrontation. PM should show responsibility."