Elahi urges Punjab govt to rein PFA

Asks under what law authority is imposing huge fines


Rana Yasif April 23, 2019
Pervez Elahi. PHOTO:ONLINE

LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhary Pervez Elahi urged provincial law minister Raja Basharat to enact a suitable law to limit the Punjab Food Authority (PFA) when it comes to imposing fines on eateries and manufacturing units.

The speaker believed that the authority was conducting summary trials of suspected offenders and he found this to be unacceptable. The speaker slammed the PFA when food minister Samiullah Chaudhary was responding to a question framed by PML-N lawmaker Arshad Malik.

The MPA was inquiring about the establishment of an office of the authority in Sahiwal district. “Who has given the powers to impose such exorbitant fines?” Malik asked. He questioned if anyone was available to hold actions such accountable.

The MPA emphasised that this was a case of the “law of the jungle” prevailing. “Under which law are Rs1 million or Rs0.5 million being imposed by the authority,” the speaker asked. To this, the food minister first denied the imposition of such fines. However, he urged Elahi to bring evidence if the mentioned amounts had been taken as fines from any offender.

The speaker snubbed the food minister’s suggestion, saying he did have strong evidence in this case. However, he also asked why such evidence should be presented before the house. Elahi ultimately asked the minister to sit back down, quipping that he (Chaudhary) did not understand the working of his department. Perhaps in a reference to the PFA DG, the speaker said “Neither is this man is a food technologist nor does he have a laboratory to examine such things. The province is being damaged by such attitudes and people are being punished through summary trials.”

Raja Basharat seconded the speaker’s stance, saying that such matters needed to be brought under national standardisation so that the decisions of a single man would not cause losses to the province. “No doubt prerogative powers are being used. As per your instructions, we will make an effort to introduce legislation and fix standard fines.”

The food minister stood up to speak about the matter further, but the speaker denied him the opportunity. As a result, Chaudhry tried to leave the house in protest, but other ministers of the provincial government restrained him.

There was further pandemonium when Elahi did not allow PML-N’s Arshad Malik to ask a supplementary question and nor did he allow PML-N’s Rana Mashhood Khan to speak on a point of order.

Copies of the agenda were torn by opposition lawmakers who then chanted slogans against Prime Minister Imran Khan. Mashhood said the speaker’s attitude was undermining the privilege of house MPAs who were not being allowed to speak. “We will not let the speaker bulldoze the house.”

The opposition then started shouting slogans of “Go Imran Go”.

Later, the speaker directed the provincial law minister to start with the items on the agenda. Raja Basharat laid two amendment ordinances and introduced five bills. The bills included the Punjab Local Government Bill 2019 and the Punjab Village Panchayats And Neighborhood Councils Bill 2019.

COMMENTS (1)

Reader | 2 years ago | Reply So powerful thugs like him can play with peoples life.
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