After listening to Murad Saeed’s address in the National Assembly that later led to the punch-up and heated exchange in the Parliament lobby, I was able to construe two things. One, that Murad has still got it; yes, he was a renowned debater and well-known in the debating circles, nationally. This trait of his is sadly a point of disdain among his opponents and such talent is used as an excuse for taunts e.g. ‘please don’t start a speech!’ But he did! Because he is good at it. Public speaking at its best! And skills like these are learned exactly for days like these.

Secondly, the people Murad Saeed focused on in his address; Rana Sanaullah must have triggered a nerve in the PML-N fraction, which is more inclined to Punjab power house rather than federal, as none later came to defend with such ferocity. Much of this led me to assume that may be the picture is related to the inner scuffles of PML-N going on in Sheikhupura, post local body elections. As a result of this, Mian Javed Latif reacted to defend one of his own, and not just the party, with unhindered rants. Not to mention, the reminisces of 90s politics seem to be getting endorsement and encouragement from elites in both parties as well, as none of those who exceeded their limit have been taken to task. Since in the ‘locker room’ this is considered part and parcel or ‘norm’, he was not exposed to opening up like this to the outside world. Parliamentary language that day had a bad day!

Listening to the clips of Mian Javed Latif during the scuffle and with the press, there were two points to deduce. One, that Mian Javed Latif has represented a mindset in our chauvinistic society, where men often use derogatory remarks regarding each other’s family, and reacting to someone’s argument with such language is a freeway, that’s okay. The worse angle for me in this is the culture of ‘locker room’ talks in our politics; one would not be surprised if Mian Javed Latif’s family itself may have been a victim of such derogatory remarks in the past.

Secondly, the degrading remarks given indicate a past where such points are hurled against a prominent opposition member. And if it was a ‘bethak’ (social sitting) in Sheikhupura perhaps, Mian Javed Latif would have gotten away with it, along with ‘laughing’ colours.

Media boycott and PTI boycott seems like a very populist approach, but my questions for them are: Were you not aware of such mentality beforehand, of Mian Javed Latif and many who still sit in the National as well as provincial assemblies? Aren’t there the likes of such people among your own ranks? What steps other than boycotting are you willing to take, to actually sieve out this mentality of ’locker-room’ talk?

Since the incident I have heard and reheard, of how respectful our culture is towards women and how much we uphold the dignity of our women in society in terms of religion as compared to the West. But none of this has materialized in times like these, where those who seem to call out the perpetrator themselves have been guilty of such wrongdoing in the past.

To start with, it won’t be bad to implement the laws that already exist for such disparaging actions in your own house. 

This event may be blamed for shifting the focus of Panama Leaks or the ‘phateechar’ comment, but nonetheless it is an opportunity for the state and society, to look within and reflect, especially, when we have just passed Women’s Day.

‘Locker room’ talk is not the case of the past. Not long ago we saw President Donald Trump being subjected to a leak that was considered as ‘locker room’ talk.

But National Assembly is not a ‘locker room’; thus, the seriousness of the matter cannot be ignored, so that in future, nothing similar happens and goes unaccounted.

The sanctity of Parliament demands the practice of parliamentary language 'only' in its domains and vicinity. Something that has been missed for a long time.