Punjab Assembly: Nawaz-Mengal meeting gets PML-N members’ approval

PPP, PML-Q object to government’s ‘solo flight’, ask for the resolution to be redrafted.

Abdul Manan December 21, 2011


Punjab Assembly members finally got down to some business on Thursday, passing 10 bills out of the 21 that were scheduled for passage.

The session started 25 minutes later than the scheduled time. The business of the day was held up as Law Minister Rana Sanaullah introduced a resolution in the House supporting what Nawaz Sharif had told Sardar Ataullah Mengal on December 19.

Sharif had assured Mengal that the PML-N “would fight Balochistan’s case”. He had said that his party would talk to Baloch youth to find a solution and vowed to punish those responsible for killing Akbar Bugti. Mengal had assured Sharif of his support in return.

Sanaullah praised Sharif for getting through to Mengal who he said had “given up on politicians” when it came to giving the Baloch their rights.

The text of the resolution said that in the House’s opinion the time to give rights to all provinces had come. “The Punjab Assembly applauds Sharif’s statement about addressing grievances and stopping the atrocities the Baloch are subjected to. The House supports Sharif’s statement that PML-N will take up Balochistan’s case and his commitment to arresting and punishing Akbar Bugti’s killers so that the wounds of the Baloch can heal,” the resolution said.

The resolution also welcomed Mengal’s statement and termed it a welcome gesture that will go a long way towards strengthening the federation. “Solid and practical steps should be taken to give the Baloch their rights,” it said.

PPP’s Ehsanul Haq Naulatia opposed the resolution and said that it was the PPP that had given the nation a consensus constitution in 1973. “We announced the Aghaz-i-Haqooq-i-Balochistan Package. The PML-N did not do anything for Balochistan,” he said. The PPP member asked that the resolution be redrafted and all references to Sharif’s meeting with Mengal be removed from the text. He said that a resolution supporting the rights of the Baloch be presented in the House on behalf of all political parties. “PML-N’s solo-flight stance over Balochistan issue will create more problems for the Baloch instead of removing their grievances,” Naulatia said.

PPP’s Malik Ashraf Sohna objected to the resolution not being discussed in the business advisory committee before being presented in the House.

Seemal Kamran, a PML-Q member, said that 90 million people lived in the Punjab and the PML-N did not represent everybody. “The House should bring a resolution supported by all parties,” she said, adding, “PML-N’s resolution is just an attempt to pave the way for [Sharif’s] third term as premier.”

PML-N’s Mian Naseer stood up and said that the PPP leaders were opposing the resolution because they could not reconcile with the fact that it was Sharif who had succeeded in convincing Mengal to break his 10-year silence.

Sanaullah defended the text of the resolution saying that it gave the credit where it was due. Mengal gave up on politicians a long time ago, he said.

Mengal had now assured Sharif of his support after Sharif promised he would fight for the rights of the Baloch people, the law minister said.

PML-Q’s parliamentary leader Chaudhry Zaheeruddin said that he resented “Mengal’s statements against Pakistan Army”. “Mengal threatened the army and the PML-N wants to support that,” he said.

Zaheeruddin said that the House should pass a resolution in support of rights for Balochistan but not a specific event.

At this point Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal remarked, “Whoever wants another resolution should move it in the House”. He then put the resolution to vote, which was passed despite opposition members voting against it.

Parliamentary Secretary on Health Dr Saeed Elahi answered members’ questions about the Health Department.

Passed and introduced

The 10 bills passed by the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday were:

The Provincial Insolvency (Amendment) Bill 2011

The West Pakistan Bus Stands and Traffic Control
(Gujranwala) Ordinance 1963 Bill 2011

The West Pakistan Bus Stands and Traffic Control (Lahore)
Ordinance 1963 repeal Bill 2011

The Hindu Inheritance (removal of disabilities) Amendment Bill 2011

The Hindu Law of Inheritance (Second Amendment) Bill 2011

The Road Transport Workers (Amendment) Bill 2011

The Factories (Amendment) Bill 2011

The Minimum Wages (Amendment) Bill 2011

The Injured Persons Medical Aid Bill 2011 and

The Power of Attorney (Amendment) Bill 2011

The Punjab Government Servants Housing Foundation Amendment Bill 2011 was introduced in the House and then referred to a standing committee.

Annual Report of Punjab Ombudsman for the year 2010 and The Bank of Punjab (Amendment) Ordinance 2011 were also laid before the House.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2011.


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