LAHORE: The Provincial Assembly is dominated by agriculturists. As many as 89 lawmakers describe their occupation as such. It should not come across as a surprise, therefore, when treasury and opposition lawmakers join hands to raise their voice on issues concerning the agriculture sector. Lawmakers from both benches have expressed these concerns and termed the government’s action to redress farmers’ grievances as insufficient on several occasions during the ongoing session.
On February 3rd, Agriculture Minister Dr Farrukh Javed led them in saying that farmers were facing grave problems. The session on February 8th was then reserved for a debate on the agriculture sector.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s identification with the business community was a theme common to most of the criticism directed at the government.
Lawmakers said that the numerical majority in the House belonged to those associated with the agriculture sector. Yet, the provincial government’s policies were biased in favour of businessperson.
They demanded a review of policies for the agriculture sector.
It’s not clear if the demand will reach the chief minister who has not been to the session underway since January 29.
No decision on resolution seeking women photographers at NADRA, passport offices
Vote on a resolution seeking hiring of women photographers at NADRA and passport offices to serve women applicants was postponed on February 9. Women lawmakers were asked to first discuss the issue among themselves.
Azma Bokhari was the most vocal in opposition to the resolution moved by Hina Pervaiz Butt. She described the demand as non-progressive and said that such decisions could undo the progress achieved by women.
Another lawmaker’s remarks were expunged from the record for being frivolous.
Butt had submitted that it might be awkward for some women applicants to pose for photos in front of male photographers.
Tax revenue from liquor sales is permissible?
Last week, the House debated whether revenue generated from taxing proceeds from sale of alcoholic beverages was permissible or forbidden. Jamat-i-Islami lawmaker Dr Waseem Akther said it was forbidden. Excise and Taxation Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said the tax was collected on proceeds from alcoholic beverages under the Excise Act of 1914.
Earlier, the House was told that the government had received Rs725.95 million in vend fee on sale of alcoholic beverages at four licensed hotels in the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2016.
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