We all get frustrated at work, but we don’t yell at our coworkers. Unless, of course, you’re Punjab government spokesperson Attaullah Tarar, who was caught on camera on Monday behaving in an unseemly manner in the Punjab Assembly.
Tarar, a member of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), was asked to leave the Punjab Assembly during a session presided by Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi on Monday. As he was leaving to chants of “go Tarar go”, he turned and put up his middle finger, gesturing towards the opposition benches, while holding a copy of the Constitution in the other hand. Now that we all know what the middle finger means, as does Tarar, there’s no way it was an accident.
— Rai Saqib KharaL (@iRaiSaqib) June 13, 2022
He also ‘apologised’ for the incident on Twitter but as an offhand afterthought.
Speaker sent this force toward me to oust me from the house unconstitutionally. This attempt failed
میں نے عوام کے مفاد میں باہر جانے کا فیصلہ کیا تو باہر جاتے ہوئے گالی دی گئی جس کا جواب میں نے اپوزیشن بینچز کی طرف منہ کر کے دیا۔اگر کسی کی دل آزاری ہوئی تو معذرت چاہتا ہو،غلط ہوا pic.twitter.com/UDUVTQflJU
— Attaullah Tarar (@TararAttaullah) June 14, 2022
“[The] speaker sent this force toward me to oust me from the house unconstitutionally. This attempt failed. I decided to leave the House in the interest of the public but as I was leaving expletives were used against me. In response, I turned to the opposition benches. If anyone was hurt by this, I am sorry. I was wrong,” he wrote.
Starting with his reasoning and continuing on to “if anyone was affected by this,” there’s a lot to criticise in his apologies. Without qualifier, an apology should be offered. The problem isn’t that people were offended by him slamming the opposition; it’s that the sanctity of the assembly was compromised, and vulgar behaviour was seen within the hall. “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” a genuine apology would begin and stop with.
People were especially offended by the fact that Tarar was holding a copy of the Constitution when he made the offensive gesture, seeing it as a double affront.
Constitution and middle finger do not go together. Particularly painful when shown by a lawyer who could argue his case by words and not his finger. Tarar will take years to explain this moment of emotional gusto! pic.twitter.com/X1ssWEhkMa
— Amir Mateen (@AmirMateen2) June 13, 2022
And rightfully so. What could have possessed a lawyer — a man who understands the severity of the paper he held in his hand while making the vulgar gesture — to point the finger at his fellow assembly members?
Some users didn’t see why an eye for an eye was justified.
سپیکر نے اپنی فورس تمہاری طرف بھیجی جو کہ غیر آئینی تھی،
اور تم نے جو انگلی دکھائی تھی وہ آئینی تھی؟ https://t.co/m3UaQyrl6U
— Rai Ahsan Hayat Bhatti (@raiahsanbhatti) June 14, 2022
Others, correctly, concluded that expletives had no place in society. One commenter said, “A curse word is a curse word.”
کچھ بھی کرلو تربیت تو پتا چل گئی۔ کسی نے یہ نہیں سکھایا گالی اپنوں کو دو یا دوسروں کو۔ گالی گالی ہوتی ہے https://t.co/YXzrlOqNWq
— Jahangir Liaquat (@drjahangirmd) June 14, 2022
People are correct. There’s no reason to use expletives like these in public, especially in the assembly. It is inexcusable to exhibit such a lack of regard for the sanctity of the assembly and then to top it off by carrying a copy of Pakistan’s Constitution while showing the middle finger. Whatever his feelings about being thrown out of the assembly, he should not have acted the way he did.
We’re all familiar with feelings of anger or dissatisfaction, but maturity and professionalism demand that you don’t give in to those feelings by openly disregarding other people and institutions.
We’ve seen many instances of politicians on both sides of the aisle disrespecting the legislature in the past, and it needs to stop. At the very least, they should remember that they were chosen as representatives, not as hooligans, by the people. We already have enough filth on the streets; we don’t need it in our legislatures.