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Members exchange blows in Pakistan National Assembly

Last updated on: December 09, 2005 18:41 IST

The Pakistan National Assembly witnessed ugly scenes when a member representing the minority Hindu community and an opposition Islamist alliance lawmaker came to blows following a heated argument over government's grants for development programmes in the North West Frontier province.

Krishan Bheel, representing the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Qari Gul Rehman of Muthahida Majlis-e- Amal were involved in a scuffle in parliament on Thursday after a bout of heated exchanges.

The two were separated by their colleagues from the opposition parties.

The incident happened when Rehman surprised his colleagues by praising the government for granting a gas project to Manshera town in the NWFP.

Rehman later said he was infuriated by Bheel's comments branding him a 'Darbari Maulvi' (psychophant).

During the House Advisory Council meeting, Speaker Amir Hussain deplored the incident and summoned both the members to amicably settle the issue.

The incident took place amid reports that a forward bloc had emerged among the ranks of opposition MMA legislators, both in NWFP and the Parliament, with the active encouragement of the government.

A 17-member breakaway group of the MMA legislative wing in NWFP, where the Islamic alliance is in power, has unsettled the provincial government.

The group is led by Mohammad Ibrahim Qasmi who said they were opposed to ill-conceived and wrong policies of the MMA government.

"We represent people of different constituencies whose basic needs have to be met. The government has transferred funds to  selective districts, which is repugnant to the Islamic teachings," Qasmi said.

Opposition parties have termed the emergence of the forward bloc as an attempt by the government to pressurise MMA into giving up its opposition to the army-dominated relief efforts in the earthquake-hit areas.

K J M Varma in Islamabad
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