Method to the madness: MPA demands shutting PWD to control population

Legislator raises question on population dept’s performance

Rana Yasif February 07, 2018

LAHORE: Punjab Assembly speaker stopped a legislator from the treasury benches from putting up more supplementary questions when she held the Population Welfare Department responsible for the surge in population.

She commented that the department must be shut down if the government really wanted to control population.

Questioning the performance of the population welfare department, PML-N legislator Nighat Sheikh said if the department was really doing a good job, why were the results not visible.

Responding to her question, Minister for Population Welfare Dr Malik Mukhtar Ahmad Bherath explained that it was the personal decision of families to control population and the department’s job was to facilitate and provide relevant counseling. “Neither our law, nor this House or our religion allows forced birth control laws on families,” the minister responded.

He, however, feared that after 2030, there would be a dearth of water reserves to meet the need of Pakistan’s population and the land would not be able to produce enough food for the sustenance of the ever-growing population. “It is unfair to put all the blame on the shoulders of the department. Every department should come forward to play its role in providing awareness to people to control population,” Bherath remarked.

Nighat Sheikh said even after having resources and being the part of the government, the department has failed in controlling population, claiming the population welfare department was the “major cause behind an increase in population”. She suggested the population could be controlled if the department was shut down. To this, the speaker asked her to avoid further questions as the minister of the department concerned has already given a satisfactory answer to her query.

On Tuesday, the legislators of both treasury and opposition benches seemed annoyed and rejected the tall claims of the government about better road infrastructure in their respective constituencies. PML-N’s Mian Tariq Mehmood criticised the Planning and Development (PND) department after reading an answer of the department which said the scheme with revised cost had been included in Annual Development Programme (ADP) 2017-18, but the PND department dropped them.

Responding to the questions related to PND, Minister for Communication and Works Tanveer Aslam Malik said the head of department concerned would respond as to why several schemes have been dropped from the ADP. Later, the question was referred to the PND department.

Mehmood further questioned the number of roads and highways in Gujrat and about the status of work going on those roads. The minister responded that there were 35 schemes out of which 12 had been completed and the rest 23 were being completed.

PTI’s legislators Waheed Asghar Dogar, Asif Mehmood, Raheela Anwar and PML-Q’s Chaudhry Amir Sultan Cheema expressed their gloom over the pathetic situation of roads in their respective districts. They rejected the CM’s Rural Road Programme.

As the House proceedings stared at 11:41 after Tilawat and Naat, the legislators of both treasury and opposition benches strongly protested over the absence of the Communication and Works (C&W) secretary. The proceeding of the House was adjourned for 10 minutes when PTI’s legislator Asif Mehmood, Arif Abbasi and PML-N’s Mian Tariq Mehmood and others expressed their annoyance over the absence of the C&W secretary. The speaker ordered to call the secretary C&W in the House.

After the Question-Answer session ended, three resolutions were unanimously passed and two were pending.

PTI’s Muhammad Sibtain Khan moved a resolution on strict action against those involved in aerial firing and fireworks at wedding ceremonies. The second resolution was moved by Dr Waseem Akhtar, demanding a facility of free travelling for old and differently abled persons in Speedo Bus service. The third resolution was of PML-N’s Hina Pervez Butt who demanded an awareness campaign be launched in the province over deadly virus of seasonal influenza.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2018.