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EditorialA day of shame in Punjab Assembly

A day of shame in Punjab Assembly

Whatever happened in the Punjab Assembly on Saturday is the extension of the National Assembly events, though the upper house of the parliament did not witness a violent mess. The Punjab Assembly, on the other side, was mired in chaos and anarchy before the election of the new chief minister of the principal province of Pakistan. The crucial session started at 11:30 am on April 16 and went on for many hours without decisive action in the wake of verbal and physical brawls from one side of the benches. What did take place was a display of savagery and barbarism. MPAs from both sides made sure to make a fool out of themselves, the country, and the system of governance by pelting each other with abuses and profanities. Moreover, the police also walked into the assembly in civil clothes to control the situation and arrest those who were spreading chaos. The ruckus started with PTI lawmakers throwing turncoats at Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari, who, according to Speaker Parvez Elahi, was not to conduct the session as he had disallowed it from taking place. But soon court orders came and it was decided that the deputy speaker will continue the session. This resulted in PTI and PML-Q lawmakers creating a fuss by throwing plastic turncoats at the deputy speaker. They also encircled him and one MPA pulled his hair before he was escorted to his chamber by the assembly guards. In this event, many got injured, including Speaker Parvez Elahi, whose arm was broken by a PML-N leader. Elahi later said that what is happening is unconstitutional and that the courts must not have interfered with the proceedings of the assembly.

A few hours later, Hamza Shehbaz was elected chief minister of Punjab. What went down in the provincial assembly is an embarrassment for the country as it shows that there is zero tolerance for Pakistanis and that they will stoop to unprecedented levels in order to get what they want. People have forgotten how to keep decorum and act like civilized human beings; instead, they act like they own the country and everything in it and therefore can do whatever pleases them. PTI lawmakers crossed the line with their disgraceful acts. What these lawmakers do not realize is that they are ruining their own reputation among their voters. This culture of insolence has resulted in a loss of respect for them in the eyes of the voter. The violence, however, is not restricted to PTI lawmakers as the PML-N has a fair share in the act as well. However, violence is never the answer. Whatever went down in the Punjab Assembly is an embarrassment and all those responsible for the chaos that erupted must be penalized. Other than the mess and violence, the election of Hamza Shehbaz with the help of ‘horses’ is another disgrace to democracy. The display of floor-crossing despite the presence of the constitutional provision and an ongoing case about the explanation regarding the relevant clauses is an unfortunate and open challenge to democratic forces.


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