Islamabad-The Islamabad High Court yesterday turned down a writ petition of Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA Dr Shireen Mazari against Defence Minister Khawaja Asif for using unethical remarks against her.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Athar Minallah conducted hearing of the petition and dismissed the petition observing that the parliamentary proceedings bear exemption under Article 69 of the Constitution and could not be called in question by a court.

During the hearing, Mazari’s counsel Barrister Shoaib contended before the court that the act of Khawaja Asif comes under section 509 of the Pakistan Penal Code that prescribes insulting modesty of women and sexually harassing them as crime. Further, it comes under “Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010” and also a case of defamation as the respondent Khawaja Asif had targeted the person of his client.

However, the court rejected the petition after hearing the arguments of her counsel.

Dr Shireen filed the petition through Barrister Shoaib Razzaq and nominated ministry of law & justice, speaker National Assembly, federal minister for parliamentary affairs and Khawaja Muhammad Asif as respondents.

The petitioner adopted in her petition that Khawaja Asif during National Assembly session of June 8 used unethical language and made derogatory, defamatory, unwarranted and ill-founded remarks against her, which were a testament of a libertine.

Dr Shireen mentioned in her petition that Khawaja Asif while addressing to the speaker made following remarks on her, firstly by saying “Ae tractor trolley nou we chup karwaoo zara” (order this tractor trolley to shut her mouth.

Secondly “ghar in sae sambhalay nai jatae” (that she cannot manage her family implying that she cannot manage her private affairs, so how is she capable to talk and represent on behalf of the people of her constituency). And thirdly, “make her voice more feminine.”

The registrar office of IHC had raised objections over this petition that court cannot take up a matter related to the proceedings in National Assembly.

At this the counsel for Dr Mazari Barrister Shoaib Razzaq argued that this is a case of defamation. After hearing his arguments, the IHC bench removed objections and ordered to fix the matter for hearing.

Mazari has adopted in the petition that the said remarks were duly televised and were watched around the globe by millions of watchers and are still available on certain social media forums.

She added that the aforesaid comments are wholly discriminatory and bigoted because the petitioner was specifically singled out on basis of her gender and is a malicious attempt to disparage her well-earned reputation.

The petitioner continued that the remarks made by Khawaja Asif are criminal in nature as he has defamed the petitioner which comes under section 500 of the Pakistan Penal Code 1860 and has verbally harassed her which created a hostile working environment for her and thus comes under the Protection Against harassment of Women at the Workplace Act 2010.

Dr Shireen argued that she sent a legal notice to Khawaja Asif in whose reply he insulted her once again by eloquently explaining the attributes of a Tractor Trolley and as to how the said object emits noises and then compared it to the noises which he was allegedly hearing on the impugned day in the National Assembly.

Therefore, she prayed to the court to pass an order where exception may be granted in Article 69 with regard to protection of women on the floor.

Under article 69 parliamentary proceedings are protected.

Speaker national assembly may be directed to initiate disciplinary action and to refer the matter to Election Commission of Pakistan for disqualification and suspension of Khawaja Asif.