Deputy speaker locks horns with opposition MPAs in Punjab Assembly

Speaker disposes question asked by PML-N MPA before it is decided


Rana Yasif December 06, 2018
PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari incurred the ire of opposition legislators when he ‘showed no flexibility’ by avoiding to decide the fate of a question of PML-N lawmaker and also disposing of the latter’s second question.

Meanwhile, another PML-N lawmaker called the deputy speaker a “pharaoh” after the MPA was not allowed to speak on a point of order. As the session started, PML-N lawmaker Peer Muhammad Ashraf Rasool wanted to speak on a point of order. However, deputy speaker Mazari did not allow him to do so. Rasool asked why he was not allowed to voice his concerns, especially since he wanted to bring up a matter of important public interest.

He perceived that the speaker was refusing his request and proceeded to call him “Phiron” or Pharoh. The deputy speaker replied by saying that a number of options were available to him to deal with such remarks, but he chose not to do so. He ordered the word to be expunged from the record.

PML-N legislator Tahir Pervez, during the question-answer session, challenged Mazari. He said information given by the higher education department about the presence of a residential colony in Government Collage University Jhang Road was false. He requested the chair to put the question into pending until the submission of a final report by Minister for Higher Education and Tourism Yasir Humayun, who had promise a visit to the venue, to look into the matter at hand.

Meanwhile, the deputy speaker called Pervez’s next question. However, the PML-N lawmaker continued asking about the fate of his first question. The deputy speaker replied that the minister concerned assured a visit to the venue. However, Pervez said a visit to the site does not mean that the question has been decided or answered.

The lawmaker said he had asked if there was a residential colony at the university, adding that the education department had claimed no such facility was available. Pervez said he challenged, on the floor of the house,  that this information was false. He added that Mazari, rather than accepting the challenge or taking action those responsible for delivering false information, called his next question.

The deputy speaker insisted on Pervez moving onto his next question, but the latter was adamant to get an answer to his first query.

“Come to the next question, otherwise I will dispose this question,” the deputy speaker. After more back and forth, Mazari disposed of his second question. This irked the opposition legislators who stood up and strongly protested against the deputy speaker’s conduct.

The opposition lawmakers asserted that they would not allow a ‘dictatorship’ or run the house. Saeed Akbar Khan of PML-N stood up to calm the atmosphere. He said when a legislator challenged the information given by a department and vowed to prove it false, the house should take him seriously rather than disposing of his questions. Later, Tahir Pervez was allowed to put supplementary questions to his second question which had been disposed by the deputy speaker.

Minister for School Education Dr Murad Raas updated the house that the government was going to introduce a uniform curriculum by March 2020. He said the aim was to eliminate disparity from the education system by taking the management of madrassahs, government and private schools on board.

Dr Raas revealed this while responding to a supplementary question asked by PML-N’s Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan. The MPA asked the minister to clarify whether there was any disparity in the curriculum of government and private schools or that of madarassahs run under the government. He also asked Dr Rass outline the government’s future plans in this regard.

Dr Raas said there were problems in the curriculum as it was not prepared on the basis of critical thinking. “All things are run on ‘rote learning’. We are bringing changes to it. Creativity will be introduced as will certain features which never existed previously.”

Later, the house was adjourned till 11am on Thursday (today).

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