Punjab Assembly: Session to go on till Jan 9 on treasury’s request

Members spend Monday debating pointing out of quorum by opposition.


Abdul Manan January 02, 2012

LAHORE:


The treasury benches requested the speaker on Monday to extend the period of the ongoing session for six more days, till January 9. The request was made after Monday’s session was adjourned without conducting the business scheduled for the day.


Eight bills were scheduled to be presented in the House for passage on Monday. The 32nd session was due to end on January 3 (today).

The session started with about an hour later than its scheduled time of 3pm with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair. Provincial minister for zakat and ushr answered members’ questions about his department.

The legislators spent the day debating pointing out of quorum by the opposition.

During call attention notices PML-Q’s Khadija Umar pointed out the quorum but treasury benches were able to meet the requirement.

PPP’s Major (retd) Abdul Rehman criticised the PML-Q member for pointing out the quorum, calling it “an attempt to score points” with the press. He said that some of the members pointing out the quorum had pointed towards the press gallery and laughed. PML-Q members Sameena Khawar Hayat, Seemal Kamran and Dr Majida Zaidi protested over the remarks but Rehman continued to criticise their “non-serious behaviour”.

Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan said that the opposition should not point out the quorum during privilege motions and call attention notices. “Even though it is the opposition’s right to point it out, they should keep one thing in mind,” he said adding, “We are sitting in a house of glass; the press relays all our activities to 90 million people.” He also criticised the opposition for leaving the House right after pointing out the quorum.

At this, Seemal Kamran said that it was their right to point out the quorum. “Treasury benches often violate Rules of Procedures of PA, 1997,” she said. PML-Q’s parliamentary leader Chaudhry Zaheeruddin Khan said that it was the treasury benches’ responsibility to maintain the quorum. “It will be the opposition’s duty to maintain the quorum when we request a session.”

He said that the Rules of Procedure were very clear about this. If the treasury benches do not want the opposition to point out the quorum, they should remove the requirement from the rules, Zaheeruddin said.

PML-Q’s Sardar Mohsin Khan Leghari thanked the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for submitting a bill in the National Assembly for the formation of two provinces: one in South Punjab and the other in KP.

Earlier, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, talking to reporters outside the Assembly chambers,  said that the PML-N did not want creation of new provinces on linguistic basis. He termed MQM’s resolution for new provinces as “a warning” for the people of Sindh. “This is the first step towards dividing Sindh,” he said.

He said that the MQM’s bill demanded that the condition of getting approval from a two-thirds majority from the provincial assembly concerned was proof of this.

The speaker then adjourned the session.

Seemal Kamran protested the adjournment saying that the government should present the bills on the agenda for passage. “The opposition wants to debate the bills,” she said. However her demand was ignored.

The following eight bills were scheduled to be presented in the House: The Ghazi University, Dera Ghazi Khan Bill 2011; The Punjab Public Service Commission (Amendment) Bill 2011; The Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2011; The Punjab Agricultural Pesticides Bill 2011; The Punjab Industries and Commercial Employment Standing Orders (Amendment) Bill 2011; The Punjab Maternity Benefits (Amendment) Bill 2011; The Punjab Workers’ Children Education (Amendment) Bill 2011; and The Punjab Bonded Labour System Abolition (Amendment) Bill 2011.

Earlier PPP’s minority member Pervaiz Rafiq Malik submitted a resolution in the secretariat regarding the minority students’ rights to admission in all branches and wings of the Punjab Vocational Training Institutes.

According to the resolution, students belonging the minorities were not allowed admission at Vocational Training Institute because the institutions are run on Zakat funds. The resolution demanded that the government allocate separate funds to the institutions for training of minorities’ students so that children of these communities could get technical education.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2012.

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