Asif says his outburst against PTI lawmakers was not ‘planned’
Adamant that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf should not sit in Parliament, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has urged the National Assembly speaker to clarify the position on the resignations of the party’s MNAs.
“NA speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq should ask the PTI to clarify whether they withdraw their resignations or not,” the defence minister told a news channel.
Unflinching from his statement that Imran Khan and his party’s MNAs should not have participated in the joint session of parliament on Yemen crisis on Monday, Asif said, “To defend the honour of the parliament is my right.” “I still standby my stance, what I have done is correct,” he said.
Asif said that his outburst against PTI lawmakers was not ‘planned’.
“In the morning session, I kept stopping our (PML-N) youngsters urging them not to make noise. But then when Imran Khan came out and the language he used in his press conference, I think it was very inappropriate,” he said.
“You have returned to the assemblies but you are still calling it a product of rigging. You have agreed on the judicial commission, but you are still using the same language,” he said, referring to the press conference by Imran Khan on Monday.
PTI lawmakers faced a hostile reception on Monday and were even labelled as “strangers” as they ended their over seven-month long absence from Parliament and attended the session on the Yemen crisis.
The party’s lawmakers had handed in their resignations en masse on August 22, 2014 – a week after the party began its sit-in campaign in Islamabad against alleged rigging in the May 2013 general elections. The resignations were, however, not accepted due to the intervention of an opposition parties’-led political Jirga.
Asif, criticising PTI members in Parliament on Monday, said, “They (the PTI) should be asked one by one whether they had resigned. They should have some decency, morality and ethics as they abused Parliament for seven months and are still saying that this assembly is a product of rigging,” he said.
On Friday, the government issued a presidential decree sanctioning the setting up of a judicial commission to investigate the party’s vote fraud allegations. And 48 hours later, the party’s core committee decided to return to the national and provincial assemblies.