LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly witnessed war of words between the law minister and the opposition leader over the issue of turncoats.
During the Wednesday session, routine proceedings were in progress when Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) senior minister Raja Riaz Ahmad, on a point of order, stood up and urged the coalition partner in the provincial government, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to part ways with the dissident group of the opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).
The PPP parliamentary leader in the provincial assembly, Riaz, advised his coalition partner to resist the temptation of encouraging turncoats, and this suggestion was more than enough to initiate another tit for tat argument and verbal onslaught among the pro-democracy leaders of various political parties in the House.
Riaz praised his party’s leadership for showing political wisdom by accepting the ten-point agenda presented by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, which had targeted the unification bloc of the PML-Q and said that the turncoats were delighted over the differences between the coalition partners and were hoping to get control of public offices. He advised Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and his party leadership to avoid patronising the traitors of the PML-Q.
Sanaullah, who never got the chance to show his political jugglery of words while responding to the remarks and suggestion of the senior minister, said that the PML-N always treated unification bloc members as honourable legislators of the Punjab Assembly. He said that a PCO chief justice had disqualified the PML-N leadership in a bid to change the government in the province and it was the PPP, and not the PML-N, that tried to get support of the PML-Q’s unification bloc members during the governors’ rule in the province.
The law minister reiterated his previous stance over the issue of the PML-Q, saying that it was not a party but a ‘Turncoat League’. He said that to curb the menace of turncoats, it was necessary to eliminate the root cause of this evil. Sanaullah said, “I appreciate the unification bloc members for waging a war against the turncoats. People rejected the turncoats in the February 18 elections and the unification bloc will kill the remaining, including the mother of turncoats and thieves.”
Listening to both speeches from the treasury benches, PML-Q leader Chaudhary Zaheeruddin, on a point of order, said that the law minister was making contradictory statements by saying that the PML-N had declared a war against the turncoats, and that they are patronising and appreciating the unification bloc.
“The mother of the turncoats is the one who took the legislators to Changa Manga and a turncoat is a turncoat, whether made in 1988 or after that,” he said. Zaheeruddin added that Sanaullah should focus on his own party leadership. He also appreciated the PPP for looking towards the party leadership instead of turning to turncoats to get the required number of parliamentarians if they want to end the menace of turncoats.
The leader of the opposition advised the PML-N leadership to do the same and contact the party leadership instead of adopting the previous practice of resorting to turncoats. However, the hot debate over the issue of turncoats and ‘mother of thieves’ continued in the House for a long time.
Separately, PPP Nazim Hussain Shah once again expressed his grievances against the media, and on a point of order criticised it saying that “no angels are sitting in the media and they always humiliate the elected parliamentarians”. Replying to the issue, Sanaullah said that the government had formed a committee to discuss such issues and the senior member should use the right forum.
Later, the Acting Speaker Rana Mashood Ahmed Khan, while chairing the session, deferred the adjournment motions moved in the House until next week on the request of the law minister.
Earlier, during the question hour session, the acting speaker ordered formation of another committee comprising MPAs from Gulberg, Lahore, to probe into the matter of construction of illegal plazas. He said this in response to opposition member Ayesha Javed, who pointed out the issue in the House. She, in another question, also pointed out that illegal parking stands were operating without any official contracts. The chair, taking notice of the issue, asked all the MPAs elected from Lahore to submit their recommendations and suggestions to deal with such issues.