IT is the basic principle of democracy to respect and honour an individual’s right to voice dissent. This constitutional right was also an accepted norm at least in the early, the most potent, phase of Islamic history. The burden of showing tolerance in the face of dissent logically rests with those in power rather than with their powerless opponents.

Unfortunately, the shameful and irresponsible hooliganism that the nation witnessed in the seat of democracy, the National Assembly, over the last few days during discussion on the federal budget has left many disappointed.

There must be some method behind this madness. Did it happen at someone’s behest, or did it reflect upon the lack of maturity of the parliamentarians, including the leaders of the house and of the opposition?

It has become a norm over the years that whenever the leader of the house or the head of the state addresses parliament, the opposition, irrespective of who happens to be in the opposition at any given point in time, resorts to creating scenes.

However, rarely have we witnessed the majority party and federal ministers indulging in acts of violence and creating pandemonium.

A seasoned parliamentarian, who currently happens to be in the opposition, was seen on television justifying abuses hurled by him as a “tradition of Punjab”. There is no such tradition either in Punjab, or in any other province.

Malik Tariq Ali
Lahore

(2)

THE government and opposition got into a physical fight in the National Assembly, while the whole nation was ‘entertained’ by our senior politicians through social media and television channels.

Ironically, these are the very people who want to teach us to be humanitarians, patriotic, pacifists, scholarly etc. While we must continue to aspire for those lofty ideals, the politicians themselves find it appropriate to use budget documents as weapons of assault. The use of abusive language, to them, is a pretty minor issue; a non-issue, in fact. It was shameful and disgusting.

Khuda Dad Baloch
Karachi

Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2021

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