Govt, opposition clash bitterly in Senate over information minister's invective

There was another showdown between Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and a group of PML-N Senators led by Mushahidullah Khan on Wednesday after the former made an appearance in the upper house of parliament to deliver a speech without tendering a fresh apology for his stinging criticism of opposition parties last week.

In a heated speech in the National Assembly last Thursday on corruption, the information minister had referred to opposition party members as “robbers and thieves", and accused Mushahidullah of nepotism.

The PTI leader's language was deemed unbecoming and undignified by opposition lawmakers, who had then proceeded to walk out of the assembly.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry talking to media. —APP
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry talking to media. —APP

The threat of a protracted walkout had forced Chaudhry to eat his words and tender an apology, but when he showed up in the Senate today, the opposition demanded that he issue another apology.

The information minister, however, was not willing to give in to the demands, prompting the opposition to protest and threaten a boycott of the session.

As a result of the ensuing ruckus, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani was forced to temporarily suspend the house's proceedings. During the break, the chairman summoned the information minister to his chamber.

When the session resumed, Chaudhry said that he was willing to apologise but insisted that he will not back down from his stance.

"This is not a personal matter; I had only talked about the mismanagement done within Pakistan's treasury," Chaudhry said before dishing out more criticism to Mushahidullah.

With the situation rapidly growing more heated and emotions running high on both sides of the divide, security was also called into the house.

The Senate chairman was eventually forced to adjourn the house's proceedings till Friday morning.



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