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Deputy Speaker suspended membership of three MPAs

27 April, 2019

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Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari on Friday suspended the membership of three provincial lawmakers belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) until the prorogation of the current session, as they protested against the ‘harsh’ conduct of Mazari.

As the session began, Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat tabled a report of the standing committee on the local government bill in the House. The PML-N raised several objections on the bill, and said the standing committee had not passed the bill, so its report could not be tabled in the House without the approval of the committee. Speaking on the occasion, PML-N’s Samiullah Khan wondered why the government was in a haste to pass the bill. “The bill has over 300 clauses, and therefore it demands rigorous debate in the standing committee before bringing it in the House,” he said.

Lawmakers Malik Ahmed and Azma Bukhari also said that a comprehensive debate should be held on the bill before bringing it in the House, as it would be tantamount to bulldozing the parliamentary norms of this House to pass it in haste. “We know that you will bring a new local government system at any cost, but you should also pay attention to our suggestions,” said Malik Ahmed. He said he came to know through the media that the said bill had been approved by the standing committee. Raja Basharat said that it was really difficult to bring the opposition on the same page as the government. He said the opposition members had to follow their party policy, so they could not support the government. As the deputy speaker moved on for the question-hour during the ruckus, Azma Bukhari once again stood up for a supplementary question, but was snubbed by Mazari. “You start speaking on every issue time and again. Just sit down,” said Mazari. These remarks provoked the PML-N lawmakers, who started shouting slogans against the conduct of the deputy speaker. Heated arguments were exchanged between Mazari and Azma, as she said that he should be ashamed over his conduct. Mazari expunged her remarks and Azma said that his comments should also be expunged from the proceeding. PML-N’s Pir Ashraf Rasool also came down hard on Mazari, saying that the deputy speaker didn’t have the manners to talk to a woman. This provoked the deputy speaker, who suspended his membership, along with those of Azma Bukhari and Mian Rauf. The PML-N lawmakers later staged a walkout from the House in protest against the conduct of the deputy speaker, who didn’t allow them to speak.

Later, talking to the media outside the Punjab Assembly, Malik Ahmed said that the conduct of Mazari was condemnable, as the House could not be run through the use of insulting and derogatory remarks. “What kind of new Pakistan it is, where the ‘change’ starts from abusing and levelling accusations against the opponents,” Malik Ahmed said, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan introduced this culture of hate speech, which was way is party members were following suit. He further lamented that the PTI had made parliament a rubber stamp, and the local government system bill was a prime example of that behaviour.

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