Ruckus in Punjab Assembly over Khawaja Asif’s disqualification


–Opposition leader demands resignation from Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal

–Will abolish article 62 in next parliament, says Rana Sanaullah


LAHORE: The 35th session of the Punjab Assembly that started on Thursday was marred with ruckus as both the treasury and opposition benches were at loggerheads over the lifetime disqualification of foreign minister and one of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz’s (PML-N) senior leaders Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

Earlier on Thursday, the foreign minister was declared ineligible for parliamentary politics following Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) verdict. Soon after the session started, opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rashid took the point of order and started his tirade against the federal ministers of PML-N including Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Khawaja Asif demanding their immediate resignations.

“Khawaja Asif is causing disgrace for Pakistan as he cannot further plead the case of our country in the foreign world being the foreign minister following his disqualification for life and therefore the prime minister should ask him to resign immediately,” the opposition leader said.

Taking a jibe at Asif, the opposition benches chanted slogans “Koi sharam…. Koi haya” – a phrase that had become a trademark of the disqualified PML-N leader after he had said this while delivering a speech in the National Assembly while training guns at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) parliamentarians who had come back to the parliament after their 126-day long Islamabad sit-in.

Speaking on the occasion, opposition leader also came down hard on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal over his remarks against the Chief Justice of Pakistan while also demanding his resignation. The female lawmakers of the PML-N also chanted slogans against PTI Chairman Imran Khan while saying that he was “polishing shoes in order to reach the power corridors”.

Earlier, PTI MPAs also celebrated the disqualification of Khawaja Asif outside the Punjab Assembly and distributed sweets among each other.

Speaking to media representatives outside the Punjab Assembly, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Rana Sanaullah said that only the decision of people mattered in politics and whoever would be the nominated on Khawaja Asif’s behalf in the general elections, would defeat his or her opponent, Usman Dar with a margin of over 50,000 votes. “The article 62 that has caused the disqualification of Khawaja Asif and Nawaz Sharif would be abolished in the next parliament,” Rana Sanaullah said while adding that every sort of legislation to give sanctity to the vote would be done in the next assembly.

Earlier in the day, the 35th session of the Punjab Assembly started with a delay of over three hours from its scheduled time of 2 pm with Rana Iqbal in the chair while answers related to the Industry, Commerce & Investment, Energy and Women Development were given by the ministers concerned during the Question-Hour. The treasury couldn’t take the government business as the quorum collapsed and the session was adjourned till Friday morning.