LAHORE: In an unexpected turn of events at the Punjab Assembly, the treasury benches came out all guns blazing against the opposition for its suggestion to name a Lahore hospital after renowned philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi.
Chaos in the legislature erupted after PML-N lawmaker Shazia Kamran moved a resolution for naming an unnamed eye hospital in Lahore as Mian Shujaur Rehman Eye Hospital.
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However, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Nabila Hakim Ali Khan opposed the resolution, suggesting the hospital should be named after a national hero. She recommended naming it after Edhi, whose services were recognised all over the world.
But the treasury benches strongly opposed the suggestion. Punjab Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Minister Khalil Tahir Sindhu said the opposition members were making an issue out of a simple naming of a hospital without giving any reasons for not naming it after Mian Shujaur Rehman.
While the PTI legislator objected that names of national heroes were being ignored for such things, the PML-N lawmaker said there were a number of examples where names of government functionaries were not given to hospitals.
Khalil also gave an example of a hospital where Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave the land and funds were obtained from philanthropists but the healthcare facility was not named after the premier. The minister contended that there was already many such things named after Edhi.
The resolution was passed with a simple majority vote.
Three more resolutions were also passed by the Punjab Assembly. The first called for banning the broadcast of cartoons dubbed in Hindi and making their dubbing in Urdu compulsory. The second resolution recommended enforcement of Quran education along with its translation in schools and colleges. The third called for legal action against those selling unhygienic milk across the province.
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Another controversy broke out in the house when Mian Muhammad Aslam asked how many director operations had been changed recently at the Punjab Food Authority and what their educational qualifications were.
Food authority officials replied the current operations director was Ayesha Mumtaz and she had passed BA.
Aslam, however, lashed out at the authority, claiming the parliamentary secretary must inform lawmakers how a BA graduate could be appointed on such a technical position. He alleged Ayesha declared the meat to be of donkeys and dogs without examining anything. “How is she even eligible for the post?” he went on.
Parliamentary secretary Chaudhry Muhammad Asadullah replied that technical officers who had passed MSc (Hons) were with the director’s office. He added the meat was examined first and then declared whether or not it was the meat of donkey and dog.
Still dissatisfied with the reply, Aslam requested the speaker to send this matter to a standing committee. His request was granted.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed lashed out at the government for closing Multan Road for construction of Metro Train’s Orange Line project, claiming citizens were facing severe difficulties, as ambulances and school vans got stuck in traffic for hours.
The session was adjourned till 10am Wednesday (today).
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2017.
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