March 6th, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
An angry Maryam Nawaz warned that her party would not forgo the attack by PTI workers, but Shireen Mazari, Federal Minister for Human Rights, maintained her defense of PTI supporters.
Workers from Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf allegedly assaulted PML-N legislators outside the Parliament Building in Islamabad as the opposition tried to hold a press conference ahead of Prime Imran Khan’s trust vote proceedings in the National Assembly.
The PML-N leaders Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Rana Sanuallah, Musaddiq Malik, and Maryum Aurangzaib were holding a press conference when a crowd of PTI supporters gathered around and chanted slogans.
In the press conference, former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi raised questions about the constitutionality of the vote of confidence proceedings, saying that under the Constitution, the President of Pakistan had the power to ask the prime minister to take a trust vote under Article 97 if he believed the premier had lost the confidence of the National Assembly. He said the vote of confidence was unconstitutional as it was summoned on the advice of the prime minister.
The PML-N leaders claimed that the PTI supporters had harassed and assaulted them.
According to the PML-N leaders, one of the PTI supporters kicked Mariyum Aurangzeb while a shoe was hurled at Ahsan Iqbal. In several videos of the clash shared on social media, Musadiq Malik and Khaqan Abbasi are seen clashing with the PTI supporters.
In another clip, Ahsan Iqbal is seen being hit by a shoe amid PML-N supporters chanting slogans in favor of Nawaz Sharif. In a video, Musadiq Malik is seen addressing security personnel who, according to him, remained silent spectators while a female legislator was attacked in their presence.
Deliberate provocation: Mazari
All opposition parties condemned the assault on the PML-N leaders outside the Parliament. However, Shireen Mazari, alleged that the PML-N leaders had deliberately provoked the PTI workers who had gathered there in show of solidarity with their party chief.
“So PM Imran Khan got more votes now than when he was given the vote of confidence to become PM in 2018! Corrupt mafias anger at this stumping by IK was shown by their attempts to deliberately disrupt PTI workers gathered to show support for their leader! Delib provocation – shameful!” Mazari said in her tweet in response to the alleged assault on the opposition leaders.
Claiming that the media was misreporting facts about the incident, Dr. Arslan Khalid, focal person to Prime Minister on Digital Media, shared a video saying that Shahid Khaqan and Musaddiq Malik attacked the PTI workers first while the party workers only defended themselves.
PML-N ‘will not forget the assault’: Maryam
But the central leader of PML-N has refused to look away. Speaking at a press conference with other APDM leaders, Maryam Nawaz praised the valor of her party leaders in fending off the attack by the PTI workers and vowed that PML-N “would not forget the assault”.
She said that her party had always reacted to such vandalism ethically in the past.
“I must remind them that PML-N workers also wear shoes and heels,” she said, referring to the hurling of a shoe on party leader Ahsan Iqbal.
Imran Khan silence shocking: Bilawal
Bilawal Bhutto, chairperson of Pakistan People’s Party, strongly condemned the attack on the PML-N legislators including a female leader.
“I am shocked that Imran Khan, who is the Leader of the House, has not condemned or mentioned the attack on legislators in his speech to the parliament,” he said at the press conference. He said the PDM alliance should condemn the incident from its platform.
‘A new trend in hostility’
Ziauddin Ahmed, the senior journalist, said the assault of PTI workers on a few PML-N legislators reflected a new trend of hostility towards the opposition parties.
He said the assault showed the desperation and frustration of the ruling Imran Khan regime. “It’s desperation arising out of Imran Khan losing hold of being on the same page with the military leadership,” he said.
Ziauddin Ahmed said the frustration within the PTI ranks is evident from the tweet of Shireen Mazari defending the PTI workers. “How come five people provoke about a hundred people? They were just criticizing the PTI leadership which unnerved the PTI workers into resorting to violence,” he said.
Ahmed warned that fanning of such incidents could be used to impose a military takeover on the pretext of civil war in the country. He said Gen Ayub had imposed martial law after Khan Abdul Qayum announced a long march to Karachi, citing the threat of civil unrest in the country.