Punjab PA descends into chaos Ban on entry of PML-Q MPA sparks -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Punjab PA descends into chaos Ban on entry of PML-Q MPA sparks

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly witnessed one of the worst days in its parliamentary history on Thursday when treasury and opposition members exchanged kicks and fists in an all-out brawl outside the PA building after a PML-Q MPA was barred from entering the premises.

Protests staged by the Opposition during the 38th session of the assembly triggered a massive brawl in the House thus halting the proceedings.

The session began after a two-hour delay with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan in the chair. On a point of order, Opposition leader Raja Riaz Ahmed rejected the speaker’s decision to bar MPA Seemal Kamran from attending the session, and accused the chair of partisan conduct. Responding to his protest, the speaker said that all decisions regarding Wednesday’s shoe-hurling incident in the Punjab Assembly had been taken on merit, and that footage would be shown in which the female PML-Q lawmaker could be seen throwing her shoe.

In response to the speaker’s reply, Raja Riaz said that the Opposition also possessed footage in which a female treasury member was seen hurling her shoe, after which the Opposition was made to suffer.

Following these remarks, members of the PML-N stood up and began chanting slogans against the PPP and PML-Q leadership, bandying phrases such as “Daku! Daku!” Opposition members, meanwhile, responded with slogans of “Zalim-e-Ala,” criticising Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, while female lawmakers began surrounding the speaker’s dais.

Soon after, PML-N activists, including Rana Arshad and Ahsan Rana Khan, began exchanging angry words with female members. The situation promptly took an ugly turn when Samina Khawar Hayat of the PML-Q had a physical scuffle with Rana Arshad, after which Rana Arshad tried to attack her with a chair. Just before he could strike her, members of his party stopped him.

Complete and utter mayhem ensued in the House, and Samina Khawar Hayat, Samia Amjad and Khadija Farooqi wrestled with female PML-N members who were attempting to rescue the speaker from the gathering mob. Several PML-Q women were slapped and beaten by treasury members. Seeing this, the speaker hurriedly adjourned the session for the next 15 minutes and urged the members to calm down. However, Opposition members continued to throw copies of the agenda at the ruling benches.

Outside the Punjab Assembly, the situation remained equally tense where Majida Zaidi, Uzma Bokhari, Sajida Mir and Samina Khawar Hayat clashed with security staff in a bid to ensure the entry of Seemal Kamran despite the ban imposed on her. PML-Q MPAs blamed the Punjab government of victimising them just because they had raised their voice against the chief minister in the House a few days ago. Punjab Assembly security staff officials were forced to stop women members from carrying Seemal Kamran on their shoulders into the assembly premises, and consequently closed the gates when the women made a mad dash for the entrance. The MPAs, in their anger, tore the uniform of security staff and slapped them.

In the midst of all this pandemonium, Seemal Kamran fell unconscious and was immediately shifted to Ganga Ram Hospital for medical treatment. Afterwards, having failed to enter the PA, female members led by Samina Hayat proceeded to the Qila Gujjar Singh police station to register an FIR against the assembly official who had stopped them. However, they could not lodge their complaint.

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