Opposition walks out as liver institute bill passed

Opposition says its recommendations have not been considered by the govt


Rana Yasif March 14, 2019
PHOTO: ONLINE

LAHORE:  

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) lawmaker Khwaja Salman Raifique took a jibe at former chief justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, saying his constant summons to court for members of his party affected government projects.

He said this in the Punjab Assembly when “The Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Center Bill 2019” was passed by the government with a majority, despite an opposition walkout over its proposals being rejected.

Rafique opposed the bill, saying the Punjab government presented the legislation in haste. He added it should have been sent to the standing committee concerned for a complete discussion before its presentation in the house.

He urged the assembly to pay tribute to former chief minister Mian Shehbaz Sharif for the establishment of the institution. He said patients suffering from liver diseases went abroad for treatment, but Shehbaz Sharif took the gauntlet and initiated work on this project.

He added that when PML-N was working on the project, former CJP Mian Saqib Nisar kept calling them to the courts. As a result, the MPA claimed these projects had suffered setbacks. Rafique continued that work was still continuing on these projects, while the former CJP had retired.

He also stressed on the need to conduct a fair audit of this project. He said the opposition had given some proposals, but the treasury did not bother to consider any of them.

To this, Punjab Minister for Law Raja Basharat said two proposals had been given by the opposition; the first was to remove the PND chairman and the second one was to include Dr Saeed Akhtar as a member of the board of governors.

He asked who would provide finances if the PND chairman was removed? He also pointed out that Dr Saeed was not the only liver transplant doctor available. The minister concluded that PTI’s objective was to take all stakeholders on board.

Minister for Health Dr Yasmeen Rashid said this was not the first-ever liver-transplant institution in Pakistan. The minister added that she had ordered that transplant facilities be made available at all hospitals.

PML-N MPAs Malik Muhammad Ahmed and Khawaja Imran Nazir lauded the services rendered by Dr Saeed for the PKLI. Speaker Chaudhary Pervez Elahi reacted by saying it would be a great success for PML-N if this project was completed. He further directed Dr Yasmeen Rashid to also gain benefits from the experience of Dr Saeed Akhtar and Dr Faisal Dar.

Later, the opposition walked out of proceedings in protest against the Punjab government for allegedly not accommodating their proposals. Later, the government also passed the “The Punjab Public Representation Laws Amendment Bill 2019” out of turn and with a majority.

The session was ultimately adjourned till 11am on Thursday (today.

As proceedings commenced under the chair of speaker Chaudhary Pervez Elahi after a delay of two hours, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Shazia Abid strongly reacted to the non-seriousness of the Punjab government. She said MPAs were not affording the necessary respect to the house.

Speaking on a point of order, she said some of her peers had been seated by 11am while proceedings started after a delay of more than two hours. Other legislators also expressed their gloom over the delay.

Speaker Elahi seconded the stance of the PPP MPA and said both sides should cooperate to start proceedings on time.

As PML-N lawmaker Muhammad Waris Shad entered the House, PTI’s lawmakers created an uproar over comments he passed in earlier proceedings. However, Shad made it clear that he had no intentions of hurting sentiments and his were in the context of the illness of a three-time prime minister; Nawaz Sharif.

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