PA resolution: ‘Stop re-enactment of crime scenes on TV’

Deputy Speaker dismisses parliamentary sec’s claim about efforts to control hepatitis

Aroosa Shaukat February 24, 2016


A resolution calling on the federal government to stop private news channels from broadcasting programmes in which crime and court stories are re-enacted was unanimously passed by the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday.

Three other resolutions were also passed after amendments to their original drafts.

An amendment was made to Rana Munawar Hussain’s resolution seeking measures for prevention and cure of hepatitis in Rajanpur and Dera Ghazi Khan districts. The amended draft, passed unanimously by the House, extended the scope of the resolution to the entire province. It pressed the government to establish hepatitis treatment centres at District Headquarters (DHQ) hospitals and to ensure provision of free medicines to hepatitis patients.

A claim made by Nazar Hussain Gondal, Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, that the government was taking measures to control the spread of hepatitis was dismissed by Deputy Speaker Sher Ali Gorchani.

Gorchani said he was not aware of any government programme to control the spread of the disease in his home district of Rajanpur. He said about 80 per cent people in the district were suffering from the disease.

Sibtain Khan’s resolution regarding water-borne diseases was amended and passed unanimously by the House. The initial draft stated that about 30 per cent population of the province was suffering from water-borne diseases. It was amended after Nazar Gondal insisted that the government was taking measures to improve sanitation infrastructure under its Saaf Paani project. He said there was a shortage of clean drinking water but insisted that the situation was not as bad as claimed in the draft. Khan protested and said that a majority of the population was deprived of clean drinking water. He said the chief minister had announced in 2013 that provision of potable water would be a priority of his government. However, he said the government had failed to do anything in this regard. Sheikh Alauddin also opposed the initial draft and sought a harsher tone for the resolution. He suggested that the establishment of all water supply schemes be declared a failed venture and sought accountability of the Public Health Engineering Department in this regard. An argument between Alauddin and Gondal ended on intervention of the chair. The amended resolution passed by the House urged the government to take concrete measures to ensure provision of clean drinking water to the population.

Alauddin’s resolution seeking action against Hajj and Umra operators was passed after an amendment to the draft. The initial draft sought a ban on ‘luxury’ Hajj packages (costing around Rs1.5 million per person) offered by private operators. It urged the government to take sole responsibility for Hajj and Umra operations in accordance with a Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) ruling. Gondal opposed the resolution and said that the federal government was responsible for the matter. Therefore, he said, the federal government should be urged to look into the matter. Despite Alauddin’s protests, the draft was amended accordingly.

Other issues discussed on Tuesday were delay in payments to sugarcane farmers by mills; media coverage of Assembly proceedings and pointing of quorum by some members to disrupt proceedings.

Rana Arshad, parliamentary secretary for information, announced the formation of a committee to probe alleged manhandling of a journalist by a deputy medical superintendent at a public hospital. Rana Arshad, Mian Aslam Iqbal and some members of the press gallery were in the committee.

During the question hour, the Treasury and Opposition members censured the parliamentary secretary for Colonies for his department’s failure to respond to the queries put forth by the House.

The session would continue on Wednesday morning. Three laws including the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Bill are scheduled to be tabled in the House on Wednesday.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2016.


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