Punjab assembly: Lawmakers fail to take up day’s agenda

Raja Riaz accuses Shahbaz Sharif of favouritism, ignoring merit.

Abdul Manan July 16, 2012


On its first day, the 39th session of the Provincial Assembly (PA) convened on the requisition of the opposition to discuss the doctors’ strike was adjourned without discussing the day’s agenda.

The session started with a two-hour delay. It will resume on Tuesday (today) at 10am.

During the question hour Minister for Prisons Malik Muhammad Iqbal Channar fielded questions about his debarment.

Earlier, Leader of the Opposition Raja Riaz, speaking on a point of order, lashed out at Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for seldom coming to house and accused him of favouritism and ignoring merit.

He said Sharif was known for backing on his commitments and for continuous absence from the House. He demanded that the chief minister be brought to the House.

Riaz said that the chief minster had appointed an ‘illiterate’ person as his adviser on education. He said appointment of Khizer Hayat Hiraj to assist the chief minister on education was a blatant violation of rules and regulations.

“On one hand the chief minister claims to uphold merit in appointments and recruitments and on the other he is bringing them down,” he said.

Riaz also said that the chief minister had once again ignored a merit in appointing some ‘blue eyed boys’ to the Border Military Police.

“The chief minister is the biggest thief [around]. This is the reason he has fled the House,” Riaz said.

He said if he (Riaz) was wrong in any of his assertions, the chief minister should take the floor and give a speech to answer him.

“The chief minister prefers to surround himself with those who flatter him,” he said.

During his speech, PML-N’s women workers got up in their seats and shouted slogans at him. Rana Arshad told Riaz he must first take notice of the corruption in the federal government.

To this, Riaz responded by naming a PML-N woman worker saying she had offered to join the PPP if she were given a job. He said he had turned down the offer.

The exchange continued for a while before both sides were admonished by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal who told the members to let the session proceed.

After the question hour, the speaker took up adjournment motions. He let Unification-Bloc leader Sheikh Alauddin to read his motions.

PPP’s Sajida Mir urged the speaker to stop Alauddin from reading his fifth motion saying rules allowed only three resolutions from a member in the house. When she was ignored by the speaker, she pointed out the quorum. Neither the treasury, nor the opposition was then able to meet the quorum.

The speaker regretted that despite a requisition by the opposition, its members did not talk about the doctors’ issue. Mir replied that she had pointed out the quorum in protest because a person ‘who did not have any respect for his female colleagues’ was allowed to read five motions.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17th, 2012.


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