Leader of the House in the Punjab Assembly Shahbaz Sharif was found violating the decorum of the august House, when he was seeing ‘chewing’ something in his mouth.
Vocal and belligerent Opposition member Samina Khawar Hayyat – herself not having a clean chit for violating decorum of the Assembly – pointed it out to the Speaker loudly, “Sir! Leader of the House is chewing chewgum in the House.”
Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal, perhaps turning his blind eye to what was happening on the right side of his chair, replied, “I have not seen that.”
Immediately, senior parliamentarian Sirdar Zulfiqar Ali Khan Khosa was very quick to add, “Sir! He is not chewing chewgum, rather having alaychee (cardamom) in his mouth. However, this was enough to bail the CM out of an awkward situation for the time being.
On the other hand, no one pointed out that the Senior Khosa, as a routine, continues reciting on beads (tasbeeh), which amply hints at the prioritised ‘subject’ for the Chief of the Khosa clan.
Simultaneously, Sirdar Dost Khosa, and another female member from the PML-N Arifa Khalid Pervaiz were also continuing gnaw at something in their mouths.
Generally, chewing of gum in an official ambience is viewed with disfavour. In some cases, it is even considered a disrespectful demeanour. Speaking of Parliaments and legislative bodies, some like the US House of Representatives expressly prohibit eating as also smoking, drinking in the House. Though there does not appear to be any specific provision with respect to chewing gum, where eating is prohibited it should perhaps follow by implication that chewing of gum is also a taboo. Though no specific rule is traceable, the recognised convention in the UK prohibits eating, drinking and smoking in the Houses of Parliament.
Meanwhile, when the Opposition was vigorously fighting for sustaining the cut motions, despite Shahbaz Sharif being in attendance, Treasury members were continuously disturbing their adversaries. When PML-N ladies were heading the move, MPA from Sheikhupura Asghar Ali Manda also started hooting at the Opposition members.
Seeing no end to this despite his repeated futile efforts of keeping the House in order, Rana Iqbal commented, “Munda! Let me complete agenda!”
This brought a big laughter in the House.