Pro-Sharif resolution is contemptuous: opposition

Mehmoodur Rasheed finds it shocking that PA rules were blatantly violated

Rana Yasif September 15, 2017
Punjab Opposition Leader Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed. PHOTO: INP

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly committed contempt of court by passing a controversial resolution in favour of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and paying tribute to his reign.

This was stated by opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed who said speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan should have run proceedings in accordance with the rules and regulations.

Opposition wants to see Sharif clan behind bars

On Wednesday, the house passed a resolution and said Nawaz was the reason the country was on the road to progress.  Rasheed said the speaker cannot be allowed to take a partial stance.

He said the position of the opposition benches was comparatively better than the day the resolution got passed. On that day, Arif Abbasi and Asif Mehmood were the only opposition legislators present in the house who opposed the resolution. Rasheed made it clear that the opposition would not let the treasury benches perform any unconstitutional act against the country’s apex court.

Talking about the role of the speaker in the House, he said, “You are the custodian and are bound to run proceedings according to rules and procedures. If you found any matter, like a controversial resolution, contrary to the rules and procedures, it should have not been entertained. An out-of-turn resolution was presented and got passed, which is regrettable.”

Rasheed clarified that he had no doubts over the speaker’s intentions, but said such steps may create an impression that he was favouring his own PML-N party. “I am sorry to say, this resolution should not have been produced here. It should have not been discussed in the House.”

Minister for Human Rights & Minorities Affairs Khalil Tahir Sandhu, responding to the opposition leader, said rules were suspended while presenting the resolution in the House. He added it was contempt of court as the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif over corruption charges and for concealing facts.

'Foreign forces behind Nawaz's disqualification'

Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed said Rule-117 of the Rules Of Procedure Of The Provincial Assembly Of The Punjab 1997 states “A resolution which seeks to raise discussion in respect of a matter pending before any statutory tribunal or statutory authority performing any judicial or quasi-judicial functions or any commission or court of inquiry appointed to enquire into or investigate any matter shall not be permitted to be moved.”

Subsequently, opposition legislators protesting against the resolution chanted slogans against the former PM and pointed to the lack of quorum. Later, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan had to adjourn the House till 9AM on Friday (today) as the government could not show the required number of legislators.

During the session, a resolution commemorating Dr Ruth Pfau’s services to Pakistan was unanimously passed by both the treasury and opposition benches.

Meanwhile, PML-N legislator Rana Jamil Hassan Khan, expressing his dismay, said the Sikh community was being deprived at Nankana Sahib. He added the minority should not be ignored. He said a Baba Guru Nanak University was to be constructed on 2,500 acres of land, but PML-N leader and Auqaf Chairman Siddiqul Farooq got it shifted to Mureedkay. He asked that the university be constructed at Nanakana Sahib.

The Opposition leader, Jamat-e-Islami MPA Dr Waseem Akhtar as well as PML-N legislator and Chief Whip Rana Arshad seconded the stance of Rana Jamil Hassan Khan. Khalil Tahir Sandhu assured the House the University will be constructed at Nankana Sahib.

Punjab Government Spokesperson Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan, asking a supplementary question about the proposed Kasur Water Treatment Agency, said tanneries in the areas were dumping material with harmful levels of arsenic and poison. “It is mandatory for them to pass the material through a treatment plant before dumping it out. Tanneries had failed to provide treatment plants and this is a violation of environment bylaws.

Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan referred the matter of Kasur to the environmental committee and asked it to resolve the matter. Minister for Environment Protection Zakia Shah Nawaz Khan assured the matter would be put on the priority list.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2017.


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