ISLAMABAD - The Senate on Tuesday witnessed complete pandemonium following remarks of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) lawmaker Moulana Attaur Rehman against Prime Minister Imran Khan what the treasury benches dubbed as “speech inciting religious hatred”.

Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwalla adjourned the house earlier till Wednesday amid protest launched by the JUI-F lawmaker against the “controversial remarks of Prime Minister Imran Khan in his address to the nation on the night of June 11 while the treasury benches continued opposing it creating hullabaloo.

There was uproar in the house from treasury when Senator Attaur Rehman launched severe criticism against the PM for what he said that the premier desecrated the dignity of the Companions (Sahaba Karam) (RA) of the Last Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) during his recorded televised address on the budget day.

As the house resumed the debate on the Finance Bill 2019-20, Senator Rehman was the third one in the row of speakers to give his view point on the proposed expenditures and allocations of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for the fiscal year 2019-20.

However, he in the very start launched an attack on PM and called him “incompetent, illiterate and selected for his alleged remarks.” The chair expunged the remark of “illiterate” used by the opposition senator following a protest launched by the treasury benches.

Leader of the House in the Senate Shibli Faraz interrupted Senator Rehman and said that he should deliver his speech on budget rather issuing a decree as it was not a place to do such things.

“The lawmaker should name PM with respect,” he also said and complained to the PPP, another opposition party, and said whether it had changed its ideology that it was sitting silent despite a hate speech from the lawmaker of a religious opposition party. “He is creating religious hatred.”

Senator Faraz also named the senior PPP lawmakers Sherry Rehman and former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani and asked where they were? “This is hypocrisy from PPP that it was silent on speech inciting religious hatred. We will not allow this.”

However, PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmakers from the opposition benches kept silence though either most of the senior leaders of both parties were not present or they left the house during the exchange of hot words.

Attaur Rehman kept on speaking despite the hue and cry raised by treasury benches while rising from their seats and said, “I don’t accept such prime minister. I also curse on such budget.” 

He added that he would call those people as coward who didn’t care for the dignity of Companions (RA). PM talks about state of Madina and disrespect the Companions (RA), he alleged.

In the meanwhile, Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar from the treasury side while ignoring the parliamentary norms and tradition used the mike of leader of the house and said that “We will not compromise on dignity of Sahaba Karam (RA). We will not let anyone do politics on this issue.”

The chair resisted that Senator Rehman should stick to the subject of budget and he kept on speaking against the PM amid protest of treasury lawmakers as some of them had gathered around the mike of leader of the house. On this, the chair gave mike to PPP Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi but Rehman kept on speaking.

The treasury lawmaker Noman Wazir Khattak and Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati also termed the remarks of Senator Rehman as hate speech.

Senator Shibli Fraaz also urged the chair that his speech should be declared as hate speech as he was making an incitement. “He is the one who has disrespected the house,” he said and sought an action against the lawmaker.

Amid hue and cry, the chair adjourned the house for 15 minutes.

When the house resumed, Senator Rehman again did not allow Tangi to deliver his budget speech contrary to the fact that his mike was switched on. “I would first complete my speech.”

On this, Azam Swati also made critical remarks against the JUI-F lawmaker and said he was not even able to sit in this house. He alleged Rehman for insulting the parliament. “He is curse and throw him out of the house,” he asked the chair.

The chair appealed to JUI-F lawmaker again and again to be seated otherwise he would be forced to adjourn the house but he was not ready to convince. The house couldn’t be run in this way; Mandviwalla said and adjourned the house till Wednesday.

Earlier, Federal Minister Swati taking part in the debate blamed the two opposition parties, PML-N and PPP, for the worst economic situation of the country. “Both the parties took the country on the verge of collapse,” he said.

He said that the government would have to mobilize its resource to steer the country out the present financial crunch.

“The PM had reduced 40 percent of his government’s non-development expenditures,” he said adding that PTI government would bring the country out of this debt trap. “We will not let our country go bankrupt and bring stability.”

PML-N Senator Javed Abbasi in his budget speech criticised the PTI and Prime Minister Imran Khan what he said both made false claims at many time to divert the attention of people from real issue.

“PM said that he would not approach International Monetary Fund, claimed to cut government expenditures, build five million houses and providing million of jobs, and about discovering oil reserves,” he said and added all claims proved false.

He added that he was doubtful about the fate of the Commission of Inquiry on Public Debt formed by the PM to probe the causes of pile-up debts and stressed that “commission would fail to achieve required targets like the previous tall claims of PTI.”