After two days of ruckus, matters came to a head yesterday in the Punjab Assembly.
The opposition had a stranglehold of the House and there was no way business could have continued. The Speaker had a choice between a free-for-all brawl or to prorogue the session. He, sensibly, opted for the latter.
The session was prorogued, but not before adopting a treasury-sponsored resolution, amidst the ruckus, that rejected the commission on new provinces.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah was heard uttering expletives in Punjabi for the women opposition members who had surrounded his chair. While the resolution was being presented, the PML-N members from northern Punjab served a notice to assembly secretariat for a resolution to carve out a province in the Potohar region.
This assembly session, which might prove to the last, has exposed the scheming by the two major political parties. Though none won a knockout, PPP seemed to have won the day on points. They wanted to expose the PML-N’s lack of support for new provinces in the Punjab and they did.
The treasury, like always, looked rudderless. By rejecting the commission out right and by introducing a resolution demanding a new province in north Punjab, the PML-N showed that they were no fans of a south Punjab province. The PPP also succeeded in showing that it stood for south Punjab.
Another interesting thing: PML-N women members who came to the assembly on reserved seats have already started campaigning for the next term. Rumour has it that eight of them have succeeded in getting the nod from the PML-N leadership.
Talking about women members, the incumbent assembly will be remembered for some over-zealous party activists. The women in the house fell in two distinct categories: ones that were over-enthusiastic and the others that slept through the entire tenure. While we all know the exploits of Samina Khawer, Seemal Kamran, Azma Bukhari, Sajida Mir and Samia Amjad there were also women who did not utter a word during the sessions. For the opposition, however, it is hard to imagine what they would have done without the support of their women comrades.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2012.
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