PML-N MNA ‘apologises’ for lewd remarks
PML-N’s Javed Latif, who created a furor in political circles after passing lewd comments about a fellow parliamentarian’s family, admitted on Friday that he had used “a few indecent words” which he does not wish to repeat.
Talking to reporters outside the National Assembly, Latif said he would not go into the details of whether what he said “was right or wrong”, but acknowledeged that he should not have passed indecent remarks.
A day earlier, a scuffle had broken out between Latif and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Murad Saeed at the main entrance of the Parliament.
Footage of the incident showed Saeed attempting to assault Latif as the latter was leaving Parliament premises.
Addressing the press hours after the scuffle broke out, Latif passed slanderous and distasteful remarks about Saeed’s sisters.
Deflecting criticism for his lewd comments, the MNA also accused PTI Chairman Imran Khan of stoking hatred among his MNAs.
“Khan made a statement that he would have gone 10 steps further had he been there. Are these the values he imparts on this workers?”Latif said during his Friday ‘apology’.
“Instead of teaching Saeed, Khan is justifying Saeed’s actions,” Latif said.
Sexism in the National Assembly
Insulting behaviour towards women was not always a common occurrence in parliaments of the past.
“The one who started it all was Sheikh Rashid Ahmed,” recalls veteran journalist Nusrat Javeed, who has covered the National Assembly for well-over two decades.
He recalled two incidents from the first PPP government. “Benazir Bhutto was wearing a Pakistani green shirt and white shalwar.
When she walked in, he quipped ‘You look like a veritable parrot’, which did not go down well with Ms Bhutto at all and caused a ruckus in the house.”
Khawaja Mohammad Asif also has some history of making disagreeable and insulting comments towards women members in the house.
Khawaja Asif once called Begum Mehnaz Rafi of the PML-Q, who walked with a limp, a ‘penguin’. Although he was reprimanded by women parliamentarians across the board, it did not seem to make any difference to the politician.
In 2016, around the time that the assembly was debating the formation of Pakistan Airways, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab also made a lewd remark with reference to PTI’s Shireen Mazari.
The PTI whip was badgering the minister to explain, during Question Hour, what international standards of security were being observed at the Islamabad airport. “In airports abroad, they also strip-search you. Is that the international standard she wants,” he responded, to peals of approving laughter from the treasury benches.
Although the women’s parliamentary caucus is supposed to take up issues like this, many women lawmakers Dawn spoke to in the past regarding the issue did not sound optimistic.
PTI’s Munazza Hassan told Dawn in the past that when she and Dr Shah went over to speak to MNA Shaista Pervaiz – who heads the women’s caucus – Marvi Memon, who was sitting nearby had interjected to say that if her voice was compared to a man’s, she would take it as a compliment.
“I told her that may be her opinion, but I am a woman and do not need to pride myself on manliness,” she said.