LAHORE: The Provincial Assembly on Wednesday passed amendments to the Punjab Revenue Authority Act and Punjab Animals Slaughter Control Act despite opposition lawmakers’ objections.
The opposition called for a review of the slaughter control law, saying that it was outdated and did not define slaughter according to the Islamic laws.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said the government had been amending the animal slaughter law to rectify a clerical mistake. He said the opposition could bring its own amendments if it wanted any changes to the law.
Earlier, the Opposition questioned Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal’s impartiality when he did not allow it to question the government over scarcity of clean drinking water in Lahore. The Opposition also staged a walkout that lasted for half an hour.
Leader of the Opposition Mian Mehmoodur Rashid said the Speaker had ‘snubbed’ the Opposition and ‘bailed out’ the Treasury. The Speaker dismissed Rashid’s view.
The Speaker had to adjourn the session temporarily after the walkout by the Opposition lawmakers. Ruling party members Rana Sanaullah Khan, Sher Ali and Khalil Tahir Sandhu were sent to persuade the Opposition lawmakers to return to the session.
An argument ensued when the opposition lawmakers were not allowed to put up questions to Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Minister Tanveer Aslam Malik during the Question Hour.
The argument picked up when Mian Aslam Iqbal of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) asked the minister to accompany him to Fazilia Colony and Ahata Mol Chund in the PP-148 constituency in Lahore. Iqbal said these localities were suffering from an acute shortage of clean drinking water.
Responding to the points raised by the PTI lawmaker, the minister said that 15 tube-wells were working in the constituency. He said that a tube-well had been recently installed near Jamia Ashrafia and four tube-wells would be installed soon.
The Speaker asked the minister to address the issue raised by Iqbal, but the minister excused himself from visiting the localities or appointing someone from his department to do this job. Iqbal reacted angrily to the minister’s remarks. He also exchanged harsh words with the Speaker over this issue. Iqbal’s remarks about the Speaker’s conduct and prestige of the House were expunged from the proceedings.
Slogan chanting by some Opposition and Treasury members disrupted the session. The Speaker expressed his disappointment at the incident.
He dismissed the allegation that he had been partial and said that he had equal respect for all members of the House. Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said that he had respect for Opposition members’ views, but it was against the House rules to discuss speaker’s conduct during the proceedings. Opposition and Treasury members will meet before the session today (Thursday) to discuss this issue.
Earlier, Mumtaz Ahmad Qaisrani, who was recently elected from the PP-240 constituency, took oath as a member of the House.
Hina Pervez Butt submitted an adjournment motion against government’s failure to take action against fake ‘pirs’ and astrologers. Sheikh Alauddin’s motion called for promoting healthy habits among people to fight diseases like diabetes, blood pressure and hepatitis. Amjad Ali Javed’s motion pointed to closure of a weather unit at the Ayub Agriculture Research Institute. All these motions were deferred until next week.
Lawmakers also discussed the threat of Congo virus during the session.
The Speaker adjourned the session on Opposition leader’s request. The session will now resume on Thursday morning.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2016.
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