“Tamsha”Words Matter, Attitude Matters More
Otherwise he is Parliamentarian par excellence. But it is the attitude of Federal Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, which is creating problems for him and his party, and providing an opportunity to his opponents within the party’s fold to pour venomous whispers in the ears of party chief Mohammad Nawaz Sharif against him.
Ch. Nisar Ali Khan stepped into the Parliament of Pakistan after 1985 non-party basis elections and since then he has been the part of all the Parliaments and hence holding the record of longest serving member of National Assembly. Ch. Anwar Chima, who had been sharing this record with him, was left out of the race after losing his seat from Sargodha in last general elections.
Being a journalist I know Ch. Nisar Ali Khan for past couple of decades but I had an opportunity of closely and critically watching him working as Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly as well as Chairman Public Accounts Committee, and found him an excellent Parliamentarian who had set high standards for both these slots he held during the previous government led by Pakistan People’s Party.
As an Opposition Leader his aggressive and assertive attitude was admired by all and sundry. He never let the treasury benches loose and put them on mat wherever he found them going astray from the defined Parliamentary norms and rules. He used to point out vociferously the flaws and lacunae in the handling of governmental affairs. Sometimes even he even had top move the apex judiciary to get the wrongdoings of the rulers ratified.
As Chairman Public Accounts Committee he had set new records by clearing the huge backlog of audit of various government departments during the reigns of several governments of the past and also presented its detailed report in the National Assembly, which in itself was a gigantic task, only a dedicated and committed person like him had led it to completion.
But things have altogether changed after the last general elections, bringing PML-N into power, and obviously the roles have been swapped bringing the rulers of yesteryear’s into opposition and the opposition into power making them answerable to the opposition.
But Ch. Nisar Ali Khan seemed failing to adjust in his new role as Federal Interior Minister, the slot he had picked for himself by choice. His hostile and aggressive posture, which is admired by all when he was Leader of Opposition, has become his negative and a point of criticism on him. Incumbent opposition in both the houses of the Parliament dubbed him as an arrogant and snobbish person who has little respect for his fellow Parliamentarians and it seemed as if he wanted to see the Parliament functioning as per his whims and wishes.
Although in both the bad encounters he had with the Opposition first in Upper House of the Parliament and then in National Assembly, Ch. Nisar Ali Khan was not wrong at all but on both these occasions his demeanour had flared the things and forced the Opposition to over react and take extreme step against him.
In the first incident Ch. Nisar Ali Khan’s stubborn and non-flexible behavior annoyed the Opposition members in the Upper House of the Parliament to the level that they had refused to come back in the house till the tendering of apology by the Federal Interior Minister and when Ch. Nisar Ali Khan refused to oblige they had started a parallel Senate session outside the House.
The matter was resolved on the intervention of Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif and the party leaders including Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Federal Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed considered as doves in the ranks of PML-N somehow managed to bring the Opposition back in the Upper House, but Ch. Nisar Ali Khan had refused to show even a little flexibility which he should have done being the senior minister in the cabinet of Mohammad Nawaz Sharif.
Reluctantly, the Premier has to appoint a state minister for Interior to attend to the questions and queries of the Parliamentarians sitting in the Upper House of the Parliament.
At the time when the standoff between the government and Opposition in Senate was resolved, one of the Pakistan People’s Party Senator Moulla Bux Chandio said that they were returning back to the Senate on the request of their colleagues from treasury and for the supremacy of the Parliament and democracy but regretted that both government and opposition had failed to scale an ego of an individual.
Now once again there was a standoff like situation in the National Assembly and ironically this time too the reason of tiff was what many terms the scathing attitude of Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, otherwise the objection of the Opposition on the word ‘Tamasha’ used by Federal Interior Minister in his speech on the floor of the Lower House of the Parliament was unreasonable and out of place.
Some senior Parliamentarians in their private conversation with media admitted that the word ‘Tamasha’ is neither derogatory nor un-Parliamentary and the actual problem of opposition members was with the rude and scornful attitude of Federal Interior Minister with the members sitting on Opposition benches.
Many an Urdu poetry maestro like Ghalib had quite often used the word ‘Tamsha’ in their poetry so the word is also not below the standard Urdu
Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, as expected, has put his foot down and refused to take back the word ‘Tamasha’ and came down hard on opposition to further deepen the tiff and reluctantly the Opposition was on boycott of the National Assembly proceedings when it was adjourned sane die and the matter of protest would likely resurface when the National Assembly would meet again sometime in January next year.
An Opposition MP, who had been part of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), in lighter vein commenting on the situation said that now Premier Sharif has to appoint another state minister to respond to the queries of the MP’s regarding Interior Ministry in National Assembly as well to respond on behalf of Federal Interior Minister.
Political analysts said that it is high time for Ch. Nisar to readjust himself in his new role and get out of the trance of Leader of Opposition and the sooner he would do it the better it would be for him and the ruling Pakistan Muslim League, because being the senior minister he would be representing Prime Minister of Pakistan in the Parliament in his absence, which is quite frequent
By: Syed Abid Gillani