The National Assembly has witnessed complete chaos and a rumpus for the past several days which has affected the decorum and sanctity of parliament. A session was convened to discuss the federal budget but lawmakers from both benches created a ruckus during a speech by opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif followed by unparliamentary behaviour.
The government passed its third budget which was appreciated by the business community but the growth narrative was dismissed by the opposition. The two main opposition parties. PML-N and PPP, had vowed to stop the budget from being passed. As Shehbaz Sharif started delivering the speech, the assembly turned into a battleground as lawmakers clashed with one another. The elected lawmakers were seen indulging in fistfights, hurling expletives and budget books were sent flying during the session, making them a laughing stock before the nation.
It is unsure what triggered the unruly behaviour but there is no justification for the events which transpired. It could perhaps be the opposition’s sinister move to delay the passing of the budget or an attempt by the treasury benches to stop criticism. It is the opposition’s right to raise objections over the budget which must be granted. However, this should be carried out in a civilized and democratic manner in accordance with the parliamentary code of conduct.
As expected, the PML-N and PTI have traded barbs and blamed each other for the incident. The NA Speaker has barred seven MNAs from entering parliament until further orders. This may be insufficient since acts of physical violence and hooliganism must be condemned in all forms and manifestations. It is necessary to take strict action to prevent such incidents.
Lawmakers are elected to legislate and discuss pressing issues of national importance and development. Such actions from any lawmaker irrespective of their political affiliation is not acceptable. Perhaps better sense should prevail that such incidents within parliament will affect the people’s trust in politicians to seriously resolve their matters.