ISLAMABAD -  After the public fighting between Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) lawmakers, it was hard to imagine peace in Friday’s National Assembly session.

Thankfully, there were no physical attacks this time around but the tension threatened to explode into a fist-fighting anytime. PTI members blamed PML-N legislator Javed Latif of crossing the limits by abusing their man – Murad Saeed.

The treasury benches pointed to the Mohammed Ali-style boxing by Saeed this week who all but knocked out Latif -- a few steps away from the National Assembly hall.

While the chair opted not to give the mic to Murad Saeed who was blazing with emotions, the PTI lawmaker shouted enough to record his protest against Latif for allegedly abusing his family and his leader – Imran Khan.

The treasury side was equally vocal to protect their colleague as the PTI staged a walkout virtually abusing Latif for his ‘vulgarity.’ 

PML-N’s Saad Rafiq – the Railways Minister - and others threatened to take things further when Pakistan People’s Party’s Shagufta Jumani pointed the quorum. The proceedings were suspended but the PML-N onslaught had still a long way to go.

Saad Rafiq-led PML-N group continued to speak inside the hall even after the proceedings were suspended and the government laboured to find its lawmakers to avoid the quorum embarrassment.

Rafiq said Murad Saeed was a novice who had to learn the parliamentary etiquettes. “This is not the first time that Murad Saeed has misbehaved. He has done it on a number of occasions in the past too. Even Imran Khan has not spared a single leader whom he has not blasted,” he contended.

The minister alleged that the PTI hanged dirty clothes along the Supreme Court walls and the parliament’s boundary walls in the past. “What to say of Murad Saeed, Imran Khan doesn’t think before speaking. He is a party leader and must weigh his words,” he said.

Outside the parliament, PTI’s Arif Alvi said Javed Latif violated all the rules and ethics by resorting to an extreme tirade against Murad Saeed. “He abused Murad Saeed’s family and the leadership. The government needs to behave,” he asserted.

Alvi maintained that the government members were engaged in character assassination of the PTI leadership but wanted the opposition parties to silently bear all the attacks.

“The respect of the National Assembly must be kept supreme. If they have to hurl abuses instead of legislation, the people won’t tolerate it,” the lawmaker warned.

He claimed the PML-N lawmakers were harassing women legislators with below-the-belt remarks in the National Assembly .

PTI’s Ayesha Gulalai said Javed Latif had insulted the parliament and the dignity of women by abusing Murad Saeed’s family. “Javed Latif should be disqualified. We will move on it,” she affirmed.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq has already given the verdict that his head hung in shame after the Latif-Saeed fight. He has also constituted a six-member committee under PML (Functional) leader Ghous Bux Mehar to investigate the matter. The committee will submit its report by March 16. But before the investigation report is submitted, there will a few sittings of the National Assembly which could be equally smoking.

And when the quorum was finally ‘managed,’ the house resumed proceedings. The government introduced a bill in the National Assembly for a constitutional amendment to extend the tenure of the military courts. Law Minister Zahid Hamid also introduced The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill 2017. 

‘The Constitution (Twenty-eighth Amendment) Bill, 2017’ is aimed at further amending the Constitution of Pakistan and ‘The Pakistan Army (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ to further amend The Pakistan Army Act, 1952. The House also adopted motions to consider these bills.

The PPP, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement expressed reservations on the bills. PPP’s Dr Azhra Fazal said these the military courts could be used as a tool for political persecution.

Coalition partner Maulana Fazlur Rehman said his JUI-F will not support the bills in their present form. He insisted that terrorism should not be linked with religion as terrorists had no religion or nationality. Speaker Ayaz Sadiq agreed there was a need to create consensus on the legislation.