Use of offensive language

September 28, 2018

Brief walkout by the opposition over Fawad Chaudhry’s non-parliamentary remarks indicates the disease our parliamentarians have been suffering from for a long time now. Non-parliamentary language used by the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry in the assembly resulted in a bad scene witnessed by all present there. Despite the fact that the minister later apologized for his invective, also personally to Khursheed Shah, saying he was ready to withdraw his words in respect of the parliament and the issue was settled when some government members went to the parliament’s lobby to bring back opposition lawmakers and they subsequently returned to the House led by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif, it left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth. The opposition got genuinely angry for calling the members of the PPP and PML-N robbers and thieves. The rumpus started when PPP’s MNA Dr Nafeesa Shah submitted a privilege motion in the National Assembly against the minister for leveling serious charge against Khursheed Shah accusing him of appointing 800 blue-eyed persons at the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation in three hours. She also read out the tweet shared by the information minister stating, “PPP destroyed all institutions including PBC [Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation] by filling its own cronies, in three days Khursheed Shah filled 800 people only in Radio! costing 7 crore Rs additional burden, Govt is drowning 5 B Rs every year only on Radio thanks to PPP visionless policy”. She asked NA Speaker to refer the matter to the privilege committee. Khursheed Shah also said the matter be referred to the committee and the minister should be asked to prove the allegation. Responding to criticism from the PPP leaders, Chaudhry not only defended his statement, but doubled down and termed the previous government “thieves and robbers”. The minister in his speech said the past rulers had used “looted money” like “robbers do at a mujra, a form of dance generally catering to entertain a male audience and its contemporary form is regarded as lewd and vulgar.” The use of the term mujra provoked the opposition protest. The speaker expunged it from the official proceedings but the opposition wanted an apology from the minister. Khursheed Shah termed the word disparaging and indecent of a parliamentarian. The minister, nevertheless, maintained that he had not used any offensive word. Despite warnings from the speaker against using un-parliamentary language, he said if he could not call a robber a robber and a thief a thief, then what term should he use. It is really sad to know why a parliamentarian forgets that National Assembly session is not a public meeting where one rant and rave without being fussy about the words he uses.

Non-parliamentary remarks on the floor indicates the insanity of our parliamentarians