PTI MNA Zartaj Gul said that Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) lawmaker Tariq Bashir Cheema tendered an “unconditional apology” to her following misconduct in the National Assembly session on Thursday.

According to a Dawn.com correspondent, Cheema delivered a speech in the assembly during which he was interrupted by Gul who jibed that he should talk about the Bahawalpur University case instead.

Last year, police had arrested officials of the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB) on drug charges for possessing crystal meth, along with “objectionable” videos and images of IUB students and staff members. Cheema had denied involvement of his son in the scam.

After his speech, the PML-Q leader walked up to the PTI leaders and shook hands with Barrister Gohar Khan and Ali Muhammad Khan, behind whom Gul was seated.

He then allegedly hurled abuses at her which resulted in an uproar by the PTI leadership that moved to attack the PML-Q leader and caused a commotion in the assembly, according to Dawn.com’s correspondent.

PTI and Sunni Ittehad Council lawmakers subsequently gathered at National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq’s chamber to register their protest.

Addressing a press conference later with Barrister Gohar, Gul said: “Tariq Bashir Cheema came to me and tendered an unconditional apology,” adding that senior party leaders advised her to accept the apology.

“Everyone guided me that now that Cheema has come to you, you should let go of the matter,” she added.

Barrister Gohar said all parties were united in saying it was necessary that such incidents did not happen.

“The speaker intervened and it was finally resolved that Tariq Bashir Cheema along with his delegation offered an unconditional apology which was subsequently accepted,” Gohar said.

Gul thanked all lawmakers and MNAs for helping her after the incident.

“I would like to thank PML-N, PPP, MQM-P (Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan), JUI-F and all other independent candidates, even IPP (Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party). I would like to thank everyone because this incident should not have happened,” Gul said.

“Tariq Bashir Cheema should not have come to my table and misbehaved,” she said, adding that her phone was overloaded due to the messages of solidarity that she had received.

She said the NA speaker intervened in the matter himself.

“I am a woman […] and that is not my weakness. My identity as a woman is my strength, therefore, no one has the right to misbehave with me just because they think that Zartaj Gul or any other woman in the assembly is weak,” she said.

Several parliamentarians had condemned the alleged hurling of abuses by the former federal minister at Gul.

PTI leader Sher Afzal Marwat said there was nothing ethical about hurling abuses at each other in the National Assembly. “They talk about the sanctity of the parliament,” he pointed out, adding that the abuses hurled amounted to assault and criminal intimidation.

“This is a crime according to the criminal code and now we are thinking of filing a case against Cheema,” he said.

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl’s (JUI-F) Noor Alam Khan also said that such incidents were regrettable and should not happen in Parliament

“If the parliamentarians behave like this when there is live coverage […] then it is not a good thing,” he said, adding that he only heard Gul telling Cheema to “shut up”.

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