Afghan transit trade criticised in PA

Nauman Tasleem July 20, 2010

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly (PA) members, during the one-hour session on Tuesday, passed a resolution on elections of cantonment boards. The resolution approves that the elections will be held after the local bodies’ elections.

The members also talked about the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT) and import of sugar. The media’s coverage of the fake degree issue also came up but the situation was controlled by the law minister before things got out of hand.

Alaud Din Sheikh, a PML-Q Forward Bloc member, on a point of order raised objections on the ATT agreement and import of sugar. He said, “India is being given leverage through the agreement. Punjab’s economy will be ruined due to the agreement.”

The Speaker, Rana Iqbal intervened and told him that he could discuss the issue with the law minister. Sheikh raised the sugar crisis next. “I had informed the House about the impending sugar crisis but was ignored.” he said adding the company that had been given the import tender had quit the business. “Ramzan is coming and the price of sugar has increased to Rs75 per kilogram.”

The Finance Minister, Tanveer Ashraf Kaira, responded to Sheikh’s objection by saying that both the issues were related to the federal government and could be discussed in the National Assembly.

Media coverage:

Malik Iqbal Langriyal of the PML-N also objected to the media reports that allege that his degree is a fake. “I appeal the media to show responsibility during reporting,” he said adding the degree of his son Noman Langriyal had also been declared authentic. The speaker said the media was doing its job and everybody could not be held responsible for a single error. Another PML-N member Abdul Waheed Chaudhry also complained about the media. Rana Sanaullah interrupted him and said whoever had a grievance should lodge a written complaint. “We will discuss the matter in the committee of parliamentarians and media members, Iqbal Langriyal’s case can be a test case,” he said adding that if Langriyal’s version was shown to be true the concerned media organisation could apologise.

Question Hour:

During the Question Hour, parliamentary Secretary on Transport Khurram Gulfam said the manufacturing of two-stroke rickshaws had been banned in the province. “Only 34,156 two-stroke CNG rickshaws are operational,” he said adding that two-stroke rickshaws were being converted to four-stroke. “The conversion costs around Rs33,000. The government is paying Rs17,000 while the owner pays Rs16,000,” Gulfam said, adding the government was also working on a pilot project of establishing a testing laboratory for transport. He said there was no plan for running separate transport for women.

Opposition members Chaudhry Zaheerud Din, Khurram Nawab, Samia Amjad, Seemal Kamran and Shehzad Elahi had moved five resolutions of public interest but none were present in the House.

The session was adjourned for Wednesday till 10am.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2010.


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