Khawaja Asif’s frustration over GHQ meeting reason for NA outburst, Aitzaz claims


Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Aitzaz Ahsan has claimed that Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s inappropriate language against Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief whip Shireen Mazari in the National Assembly (NA) on Wednesday was a result of his frustration following a meeting at the General Headquarters (GHQ) earlier this week.

Speaking to a private news channel, Ahsan was of the opinion that the meeting at GHQ, where top ministers were summoned and “sat like schoolchildren” was most astonishing.

“Ministers were never summoned in such a way to a meeting at the GHQ during the PPP government,” he claimed.

Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif convened a meeting termed “extraordinary” meeting on Tuesday with key ministers managing affairs in the Prime Minister’s absence, including Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, PM’s Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry.

The first civil-military huddle on national security since Prime Minister Sharif left for London for his heart surgery was believed to have been prompted by some specific concerns even though a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations said it was held for deliberations on “issues related to external and internal security situation of the country, including CPEC”.

The NA session on Wednesday was disrupted when opposition lawmakers, including PTI’s Shireen Mazari, protested during Asif’s speech on load shedding during Ramzan.

Asif asked the speaker to “silence this tractor trolley” while pointing towards Mazari and referred to her voice as ‘masculine’.

When Mazari protested and argued with the speaker, who was trying to blame opposition lawmakers for the ruckus, Asif said: “I am not going to apologise, they can do whatever they want.”

Following the incident, the speaker ordered Asif’s remarks against Mazari be expunged from the record.