The National Assembly secretariat on Wednesday asked PML-N Member of National Assembly Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to explain what Speaker Asad Qaiser has termed “continuous misbehaviour” on his part during parliamentary proceedings.
According to a notice sent to Abbasi by the secretariat, the speaker has taken “very serious note of your continuous misbehaviour and disregard of Chair and accepted parliamentary norms and especially on the occasion when a very important business was about to transact before the House on 20th April 2021”.
The National Assembly had convened a session to present a resolution to debate the matter of whether the French ambassador to Pakistan should be expelled after French President Emmanuel Macron defended the right of Charlie Hebdo magazine to republish blasphemous cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Amid the session, Abbasi had approached the speaker’s rostrum, after which a heated exchange took place between the two, with the PML-N leader saying: “I will take off my shoe and hit you.”
Later, speaking to Geo News on programme “Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath”, Abbasi said he should not have behaved the way he did but that he believes the speaker wanted to “bulldoze” the resolution without giving him a chance to speak.
The notice sent to Abbasi today said that the speaker believes that his authority was “eroded/disregarded” and smooth running of parliament proceedings were “obstructed”.
“By your such act you have interrupted and obstructed the business of the National Assembly and ridiculed the Chair,” read the notice.
It said that Abbasi is “required to tender [an] apology” and explain within seven days of receipt of the letter as to why action should not be taken against him under Rule 21 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.
Rule 21 empowers the speaker to suspend the membership of a lawmaker for the rest of the National Assembly session.
It states: “The Speaker may, if he deems it necessary, name a member who disregards the authority of the Speaker or abuses these rules by consistently and willfully obstructing the business of the Assembly.
“If a member is so named by the Speaker, he shall forthwith put the question that the member (naming him) be suspended from the service of the Assembly for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session: Provided that the Assembly may, at any time, on a motion made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.”
The notice to Abbasi warned that if his reply is not received within the stipulated time, “it will be presumed that you have no explanation to offer”.