Although the PTI-led government achieved its target of getting its business approved during the recent Punjab Assembly session, the interest of its lawmakers appeared to be fading afterwards.
Similarly, the disinterest of PML-N lawmakers was evident from their refusal to attend meetings of the standing committees to work on legislation on different issues.
They said they would not become part of the panels until Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz was appointed Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.
It was the 31st sessions of the Punjab Assembly chaired by Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.
While the opposition and treasury members were at loggerheads on different issues, the speaker did not appear to be acting as a part of the government.
In addition to the opposition members, Speaker Pervaiz Elahi also criticised the government’s performance in different fields.
Some ministers and parliamentary secretaries remained absent on the days when questions about their departments had to be answered.
This attitude irked Law Minister Basharat Raja who said he would complain to Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.
The government did not bother to consider a demand of the PML-N for the chief minister to attend the assembly proceedings to shed light on different burning issues, including the banned TLP. PML-N lawmakers crticised the absence of the CM but he deputed the law minister to respond to their queries.
While the opposition PML-N members grilled the government over its performance, its right to point out lack of quorum during the session was challenged by the law minister. When the issue was raised, Raja claimed that there was a consensus between the PML-N and the government hat quorum would not be pointed out. He said the deviation of the PML-N lawmakers from their commitment was evident.
The members discussed the condition of the jails in the province in detail.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2021.