The National Assembly is Pakistan's main representative body, one that is supposed to be filled with public representatives who will give voice to the concerns of the people. On Tuesday it resembled a WWE wrestling arena more than a hallowed institution that makes up one of the four pillars of the state.
Lawmakers from both benches grew violent, hurling copies of the budget and expletives at each other.
The mayhem began when opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif attempted to speak, for a second day, during the general debate on federal budget 2021-22.
Videos widely shared on social media showed PTI's Ali Awan shouting expletives at a member of the opposition and tossing a book at his rival, who hurled it back at him.
MNAs blamed each other for the frenzied violence but at the end of the day, one thing was clear — the National Assembly had been disgraced. MNA Mohsin Dawar said "today was one of the lowest points of Pakistan's parliamentary history" and he wasn't wrong. What can we expect from a nation when its public representatives acted little better than hooligans?
Throwing books, shouting expletives, screaming — this sounds more like a second grade classroom than the hallowed halls of Pakistan's parliament. But unfortunately, this wasn't a classroom, it was our National Assembly, filled with the cream of the country's politicians.
On social media, people were left shaking their heads in disgust and shame. Given the behaviour of some politicians in the past, many weren't too surprised that it came down to actual violence but others had hoped that our esteemed politicians would at least hold something sacred.
As with most times of crisis in Pakistan, social media users used humour to tackle the situation. At this point, all we can say is that it's a coping mechanism.
For some social media users, the scenes were reminiscent of the frenzied violence at lawn sales.
Others used the incident to push for lighter budget books.
Some stars of the day:
Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari proving that her voice is as loud as ever.
This guy catcalling during the speeches.
Murad Saeed. Enough said.
These guys who should try out for the Olympics.
And whatever this was.
Here are some unfortunate lessons we learned from the NA session.
There might have been a better use for those budget books
We've never seen one like this before and hopefully we won't see one again, but we wouldn't count on it.
Parliament or a zoo?
This user had some takeaways on men in politics, though to be fair, the women MNAs weren't much better.
The assembly reminded some people of an unruly classroom.
Or a WWE fighting arena. Though if we wanted a WWE fighter to represent us, we'd rather choose John Cena.
We've become jokes across the border already.
This person had a serious question for everyone who elected these MNAs.
While Twitter is full of jokes about the fight, it's not really a joking matter. Our politicians are supposed to represent us but right now, as a nation, we're collectively ashamed to call them our own. We've said it before and we'll say it again — violence, no matter how provoked, is wrong. Our esteemed assembly members should have known better than to make a mockery of parliament. No matter where your politics lie, everyone should condemn our MNAs who decided to show the country exactly how diplomatic and refined they are.
We're fed up with videos and stories about politicians behaving badly. One day, Firdous Ashiq Awan is slapping an MNA on live TV and another Ali Amin Gandapur is telling people to mind their own business when they call him out for letting a child drive. This issue is not specific to any political party or government — we've heard some doozies from opposition politicians in the past. Can all of our politicians please behave? Using expletives because someone else did first or throwing books in retaliation isn't the answer to anything.
Now more than ever, we need politicians we are proud of and ones we can respect. We only hope our politicians can stop their petty fights to become the leaders we need.