LAHORE: Punjab Law minister Rana Sanaullah on Tuesday encouraged an MPA to withdraw a resolution seeking the removal of reported hate speech from the syllabus of seminaries.
In a surprise move, PML-N legislator Hina Pervez Butt withdrew the resolution after Sanaullah who gave the clean chit to all schools, colleges and seminaries in the province. He claimed no hate material was being taught at these educational institutes of the province.
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Butt stated in the resolution that prompt measurers were needed to remove content related to sectarianism and hate speech from syllabi.
Rana Sanaullah said there was no such material present at schools, adding Punjab had registered all 15,783 madrassahs as well as their students and teachers.
There are around 1.1million students at these seminaries and Sanaullah said action would be taken if the lawmaker could pinpoint specific cases of hate speech. The law minister then advised her to withdraw the resolution and she took his suggestion. An amendment and one resolution was unanimously passed
End of boycott
Opposition benches ended the boycott after Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan assured that both sides of the isle were equal for him.
The opposition had boycotted Punjab Assembly proceedings in protest against the alleged partial conduct of the speaker. The MPAs alleged the speaker was running proceedings according to the law minister’s directions.
On Tuesday, when the question-answer sessions continued, Sanaullah stood up and requested the speaker to hear the grievances of opposition MPAs. As the deputy speaker was absent, parliamentarian Azma Zahid Bukhari held proceedings as the speaker spoke to opposition members.
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Some demands and reservations were put before Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan by opposition benches which were led by Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed. These were related to mostly wrong replies given on the agenda, delays of up to two years in replies sent by departments concerned, answers not given on the agenda, pending questions, absence of ministers or parliamentary secretary to respond to questions and ensuring that the mic of the opposition leader is not turned off during proceedings. They stated proceedings are being run on the orders Rana Sanaullah and others.
However, the speaker responded by saying both benches were equal for him. He added that any impression that the opposition was being dealt an unfair hand would soon be dispelled.
He said demands would be addressed in accordance with the rules. Iqbal Khan assured the mic of the opposition would not be turned off. The speaker formed a committee comprising opposition leader Mehmoodur Rasheed, Rana Sanaullah and the chief secretary to look into the delay of queries and wrong questions being made part of the agenda.
After assurances by the speaker, the opposition joined the session and was welcomed by Iqbal Khan himself.
During the questions answer session, Minister for Health Khawaja Salman Rafique said it was necessary to improve medical facilities in rural and far flung areas. To this end, he said the government decided to announce incentives for those willing to work in remote areas.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 8th, 2017.