Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Deputy General and Spokesperson Attaullah Tarar is being criticised on social media after a video of him went viral, where he can be seen showing the middle finger in the Punjab Assembly after being asked by the speaker to leave.
The incident took place during a session of the Punjab Assembly on Monday, where the Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi had asked Tarar and his colleagues to leave the Assembly.
As he left, the opposition started chanting ‘go Tarar go’, at which point Tarar, who was clutching a copy of the Constitution, turned around to face them and lifted his hand up and made the offensive gesture.
People on social media are not thrilled about his action, which seems to violate the sanctity of the Assembly. Even worse, the indecent gesture was made while holding a copy of the Constitution, which only added insult to the injury for many.
There were a lot of remarks about how ‘educated’ ‘decent’ individuals should not stoop to such behavior, and people referenced how his family name bears a lot of respect.
A portion of people attributed Atta Tarar’s gesture to be reflective of PMLN, which he belongs to.
Following the backlash, Atta issued an ‘apology’ on Twitter. He justified his action by saying that the Speaker had sent a ‘force’ to unconstitutionally oust him from the Punjab Assembly, adding that when he decided to walk-out from the Assembly for the ‘betterment of the people’, he was met with expletives.
“I was met with insults on my way out, at which I turned to the opposition benches and gave them an equal response,” he said, adding, “If anyone was offended, I apologize, it was wrong.”
This would have been grave enough had this been a regular session, but the session where the untoward incident took place was meant to debate the Punjab budget.
The problem here is that Atta’s ‘clarification’ was a non-apology. He tried to justify his act of flipping off the opposition while Assembly is in session and then he apologized only for hurting people’s sentiments, while ignoring how he disrespected the Constitution and the decorum of the Assembly.
Until our parliamentarians learn to stop the ‘whataboutism’ that is so rampant in the political discourse today, we will not make any significant progress. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And as people have been pointing out, Atta should have definitely thought before he acted.