LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Thursday, amid opposing voices, cautiously passed a resolution in favour of extracurricular activities in all public and private educational institutions in the province.
The treasury and opposition benches unanimously omitted the word ‘musical concerts’ from the new draft of the resolution and managed to get an approval from the house with a simple majority, and not unanimously.
Opposition Leader Raja Riaz tabled the resolution, framed with the consent of committee members Punjab Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Parliamentary Leader Chuahdry Zahiruddin Khan and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shaukat Basra.
The resolution states:
The house is of an opinion that there shall not be any ban on any extracurricular activities including cultural, national and literary activities in all public and private educational institutions.
Following criticism from civil society and the media, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal on Wednesday constituted a committee to bring a new resolution in order to dilute the impression of an earlier passed resolution from the house.
The Punjab Assembly had on Tuesday passed a resolution moved by Seemal Kamran, seeking a ban on “objectionable” musical concerts in public and educational institutions in the province.
Unification Bloc member Sheikh Alaudin demanded the chair of the house that the resolution presented by Riaz was actually his resolution; hence he should be given due credit.
The speaker, while turning down his arguments, said that he had not yet received his resolution. But Alauddin continued to exchange words with the speaker and even requested him to include his name in the resolution. However, the speaker did not change his stance and put the question of approval of the resolution in front of the house.
In response, Alauddin walked out of the assembly, but came back shortly.
According to the Rules of Procedure of Punjab Assembly, under Rule115, Tuesday is specified for presenting resolutions to the house. But according to Rule 234, the speaker has the power to allow a member to table a resolution any other day, out of turn.
PML-N MPA Ilyas Chinioti opposed the resolution and demanded that the term “cultural activities” be defined. Chinioti cited a verse from the Holy Quran and said, “Singing and listening to songs both are sinful activities”. He said that Islam prohibits musical concerts at any place and if these were allowed in the educational institutions then their generations would be distanced from Islam.
PML-N Chaudhry Abdul Waheed said that if musical concerts would be put under cultural activities then it was his responsibility to raise his voice against it. He said that the teachings of Islam should not be humiliated through cultural activities.
PPP’s Rifat Sultana Dar stood up and tried to convince the opposing members that songs were also sung in the age of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
PML-Q’s Humaira Awais Shahid said that it was the biggest problem of the country that everyone came forward to impose Islam on others and spare themselves. She said that Punjab government on Saturday had arranged a musical concert at the inauguration ceremony of a food street near Lahore Fort.
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