ISLAMABAD: Some foul language marred a National Assembly sitting on Friday as a wordy strife between two political parties crept into the proceedings, prompting intervention by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and raising questions on whether media should become willing deliverers of such abuse.
Mr Gilani advised restraint to both sides after PPP member Abdul Qadir Patel, chairing the proceedings at the time, declined to allow any more speeches after an angry exchange between opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan of the PML-N and a member of the government-allied MQM, Waseem Akhtar, that was linked to much angrier exchanges between them outside the house two days ago.
“I want such a thing should not happen (in the future),” Mr Gilani said, noting that the house speaker could have expunged objectionable remarks if Wednesday’s fracas, broadcast live by private television channels, had happened inside the chamber.
But Mr Patel ordered no expunction on Friday before adjourning the house until 5pm on Monday, although some vulgar innuendoes not worth printing about the private life of the opposition leader were made in the MQM member’s response to Chaudhry Nisar’s demand that the house take notice of allegedly abusive language used by the other side on parliament’s precincts on Wednesday and to set up a committee to find out who was at fault.
Despite an endorsement by Mr Akhtar, the chair ignored the demand for an inquiry committee, which the opposition leader said should include “our friends from the media” so such incidents did not happen again.
The MQM member acknowledged he spoke “emotionally” on Wednesday, when he made harsh remarks about the PML-N leadership before television cameras, but said he did it “rightly” to respond to what he called “accusations against our leader”. “Whatever type of words you use, you will definitely get the reply (in the same way).”
Apparently displeased with the telecast of abusive remarks by the electronic media, Chaudhry Nisar said though an independent parliament and independent media were necessary for a functioning democracy, “the media should support us by ignoring loose and discourteous language and (project) positive things”.
The prime minister too spoke of an “increased responsibility” of the media, which he said should report developments in the “right perspective”.
ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan referred to the PML-N-MQM row earlier during the proceedings and called for refraining from using objectionable language, which he said would harm democracy and the dignity of parliament.