LAHORE: As the Punjab Assembly echoed with the thumping of the desks by both treasury and opposition lawmakers over a bill to increase their salaries, they also lauded a resolution passed unanimously demanding the federal government to confer military awards upon the pilots who shot down the Indian jets.
Usually, the treasury and the opposition raise objections on a bill presented by the opponent but this time the lawmakers of both sides had no sign of objections on their faces and they wholeheartedly welcomed “The Punjab Public Representation Laws Amendment Bill 2019”. The house reverberated with the continuous thumping of the desks by the legislators and then the chair referred the bill to the standing committee concerned.
On March 5, the matter of a raise in the salaries of the MPAs had come under discussion when the ruling party’s MPA Ghazanfar Abbas Cheena, on point of order, had drawn attention of the house towards the ‘sufficient salaries’ of the member of other provinces. He had said these assemblies had increased the salaries of their members but the Punjab Assembly did not.
Responding to the proposal, Punjab Law Minister Raja Basharat had said the bill had already been submitted which need the approval from the cabinet and then finally it would be brought into the assembly. On this, Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari said the bill should be passed if all the members were satisfied and had no objection over it. He said the provincial law minister should introduce this bill this week.
On the other hand, both sides also seemed united when a resolution was unanimously passed demanding of the federal government to confer military awards upon the Pakistan Air Force Wing Commander Numan Ali and Squadron Leader Hassan Siddiqi over striking down the Indian jets. The resolution was read out by a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker. “This house pays tribute to our air force over striking down Indian jets. We are proud of our forces. This house demands of the federal government to award the aforesaid jawans with military awards for their bravery,” the resolution read.
The house proceedings commenced with a delay of 90 minutes under the Chair of Speaker Chaudhry Pervez Elahi. The questions relating to the higher education department were part of the agenda items.
During the question-answer session, a PTI’s woman lawmaker had to withdraw her question after she came to know that PML-N’s government was not involved in corruption in the laptop distribution scheme. PTI’s Momina Waheed had asked a question related to the distribution of laptops among the students but the government’s department had to admit that the previous government had distributed laptops on merit and had not committed any violation. The department concerned further revealed that 414,848 laptops were distributed from 2011 to 2017 on merit and no embezzlement was committed. The department claimed that the purchase of these laptops was made on the cheapest rates available in the market and not a single laptop was missing.
The house burst into laughter when PTI’s women legislator Momina Waheed demanded the PML-N’s Waris Shad to tender his apology over his remarks that “a strange class has come into the house”. She said PTI talked about legislation in the house while PML-N talked about its leader’s illness and arrests made by the National Accountability Bureau. Responding to it, the PML-N’s lawmakers shouted slogans “Kahlu teray khon say inqilab aye ga” on which the law minister remarked, “we say Ameen to this slogan”. The house once again burst into laughter.
Later Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari adjourned the House for Wednesday (today) at 11:00am.