Information Minister apologises to opposition over ‘derogatory’ remarks

Information Minister apologises to opposition over 'derogatory' remarks

ISLAMABD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday apologised to members of the opposition after they staged a brief walkout from a National Assembly session in protest over his “derogatory remarks”.
As NA Speaker Asad Qaiser chaired the session, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Khursheed Shah moved a privilege motion over allegations leveled against him by Chauhdry in his early morning tweet.
The information minister then took to the floor of the House and criticised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party governments as he explained his tweet in which he alleged that former opposition leader Khursheed Shah appointed “800 people in Radio Pakistan in just three days”.
“These people [PPP and PML-N] have looted Pakistan and recruited their favourites in Pakistan Steel Mill, Pakistan International Airlines and Radio Pakistan,” Chauhdry said.
As the House broke into chaos over his remarks, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser said, “Chauhdry Sb it is your responsibility to maintain order.” However, the information minister continued with his speech and said, “These people say we are inexperienced.”
“Khursheed Shah appointed countless people in PIA, PML-N leader Mushahidullah Khan gave top posts in the national carrier to his brother and cousin and then they tell us that we are running the country on funds,” he continued.
The information minister further said, “If you call a thief a thief, they get offended.”
The country cannot run like it has been for the past two to three decades, he asserted.
Following this, the NA speaker once again interrupted Chauhdry, however, he said, “Please let me complete what I am saying. The others are just sitting here but people of Pakistan want to hear me.”
Chauhdry then continued with his criticism of the previous governments and said, “A man who used to drive a cab abroad was appointed as director general of Radio Pakistan.”
He further said, “There should be strict accountability of thieves.” When the NA speaker in response remarked that he should draft laws for this, Chauhdry said, “Laws are present but have not been implemented.”
“Had laws been implemented all these people would be behind bars,” he added.
Opposition members strongly protested against Chaudhry’s remarks and staged a walkout.
PPP leader Khursheed Shah said, “Members of assembly have respect but the information minister used derogatory language against us. I’m not saying that he has a low character but the words used by him are low.”
Shah further said, “Chauhdry should apologise to us and we will not attend proceedings till he apologises.”
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President and Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif also demanded that the information minister apologises for his remarks.
Following their walkout, Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs approached the opposition members and convinced them to come back to the House.
As the session resumed, Chaudhry took to the floor once again and apologised.
“Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif asked me to so I apologise to Khursheed Shah and other members of the opposition,” the information minister said.


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