ISLAMABAD -Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif ignited social media backlash on Monday as he repeated his ‘tractor trolly’ comment aimed to target Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf legislator Shireen Mazari.

Asif, a senior member of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, took to microblogging site Twitter late Monday and termed the inclusion of new politicians in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf a silver lining for chairman Imran Khan.

However, the legislator again invited the wrath of social media buffs by repeating ‘tractor trolly’ comments, a veiled reference to a senior member of PTI, Shireen Mazari.

Asif not only hit Mazari but also took a sarcastic jibe at a ‘newly acquired dumper’, most likely referring to Firdous Ashiq Awan. However, Asif did not name either Mazari or Awan in his tweets.

In a joke, that was largely perceived in a bad taste, Asif observed that the PTI can haul political garbage of other forces using the tractor trolly and dumper without any extra cost.

Soon after the tweet went viral, prominent journalists and politicians took aim at the minister for once again hitting his political opponents below the belt.

Tractor Trolly Uproar in National Assembly

Khawaja Asif called Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Shireen Mazari a “tractor trolley” back in June last year.

The incident was triggered when Khawaja Asif, who was participating in the budget debate, was interrupted by Shireen Mazari, who began chanting slogans in the middle of his speech. In response, the minister requested NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to silence “this tractor trolley”.

As a result, opposition lawmakers started protesting and urged Khawaja Asif to apologise for his disparaging comments. The incident led to an exchange of harsh words between different MNAs.

NA Speaker, on the other hand, expunged the remarks of the Defense Minister from the Assembly proceedings to calm down the opposition lawmakers.

Shireen Mazari Moves IHC

Dismayed by the comments of the minister, Shiren Mazari moved Islamabad High Court seeking action against Khawaja Asif.

Mazari had requested the court to direct the National Assembly speaker to initiate disciplinary action and refer the matter to the Election Commission of Pakistan to disqualify the minister.

Shireen’s counsel stressed that the remarks were duly televised and watched around the globe by millions and remained available on social media. Razzaq had also said that the remarks are criminal in nature as Asif had defamed Mazari which comes under section 500 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860.

However, Justice Athar Minallah of the IHC dismissed the petition as non-maintainable after hearing arguments from Mazari’s counsel Barrister Shoaib Razzaq. The court had directed Mazari’s counsel to argue over how a matter related to National Assembly proceedings could be taken up by the court.