LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly witnessed uproar on Wednesday as legislators from both the sides of the political divide exchanged harsh words, allegations and counter-allegations when Opposition Leader Mehmood-ur-Rasheed raised the issue of police brutality on unarmed men and women in Model Town.

The opposition staged a walkout twice against the Model Town tragedy and firing on MQM MNA Tahira Asif, announced to mourn deaths of innocent men and women and demanded resignation from Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. After the opposition boycotted the proceedings, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah moved a resolution in favour of the military operation, Zarb-e-Azab, in North Waziristan, which was unanimously passed by the house.

At the start of the proceedings, Mehmood-ur-Rasheed stood on a point of order and asked the chair to offer fateha for the 10 people who lost their lives at the hands of the police. After offering fateha for the departed souls and prayers for the early recovery of the injured, Mehmood-ur-Rasheed said the death toll had risen to 10 while seven injured were in critical condition. He said there was no example of such brutality on innocent women even during Ayyub, Zia and Musharraf regimes. He said media footages of thrashing of women and elderly men with white beards were soul-shivering. He said the police could not take such steps on their own

Referring to a meeting held at Civil Secretariat, he said the government went ahead with its plan of carrying out an operation to remove barriers despite opposition from a high-ranking officer. He said the CM had expressed ignorance about the operation that continued in his neighborhood for 18 hours. He said such an ignorant person had no right to remain CM, adding Shahbaz Sharif should step down.

As the treasury benches continued raising slogans, Mehmood-ur-Rasheed said the rulers were continuously saying that no one would be allowed to make any no-go area whereas Model Town H-Block and Jati Umra were the areas where no one could enter. He said the wrong policies and unwise acts of the rulers were endangering the democratic system. He announced to bring a resolution on the Model Town tragedy.

Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the local administration and police took the decision of removing barriers. He claimed the government did not plan any operation. He contended the control of safety barriers should remain with police and not with any civilian. He said there were different versions regarding the reasons that led to the tragic incident. He said an independent judicial commission had been constituted, which would fix the responsibility and exemplary punishment would be awarded to the culprits. He remarked the people talking about democracy had no role in restoration of democratic process. He said democracy and the Constitution would remain intact.

The treasury legislators stood up and started raising slogans in favour of the PML-N leadership and against the opposition. They continued chanting slogans during speech of Mian Aslam Iqbal. After the opposition staged a walkout, Rana Sanaullah asked the chair to send some members to convince the opposition to become a part of the remaining proceedings.

On his return, Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed said the opposition had expressed views on the important issue of Model Town tragedy, but the treasury members continued raising slogans in favour of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif. He said the CM should have come to the house for clarifying his position. He made it clear that the opposition was staging a walkout to protest the non-serious attitude of the treasury.