LAHORE: The opposition members in the provincial assembly on Wednesday walked out of the pre-budget discussion complaining about the speaker’s conduct in the house.
The session resumed at 11:42am. Minister Rana Mashood answered questions on the School Education Department.
Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal is currently acting governor and Sher Ali Gorchani the acting speaker.
The opposition members boycotted the proceedings over what they called the speaker’s “preference for treasury benches”, saying they were ignored.
The speaker sent Minister Col (r) Shuja Khanzada to persuade the opposition leaders to return. Khanzada reported that the opposition were annoyed with the speaker and wanted a chance to discuss the matter in the house.
The speaker allowed the request.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah however said according to the Rules of Procedure, the speaker’s conduct could not be discussed in the house.
He said if opposition had complaints, they should be discussed at the business advisory meeting on Thursday.
Leader of Opposition Mian Mehmmodul Rashid said the speaker did not allow members to participate or talk on any business, either on a motion or a point of order.
He said the speaker defended ministers and replied on behalf of the treasury benches.
He said MPA Raheela Anwar objected to remark by Mashhood.
He said Anwar wanted to reply to Mashhood’s statements but was not allowed to do so by the speaker.
The speaker expunged that word and asked the matter to be further discussed with Mashhood in his chamber.
However, the opposition continued to protest.
Muhammad Iqbal Gujjar said Rashid should accept speaker’s offer to discuss the matter in his chamber.
The speaker when tried to say that he was non-partisan but this led to another argument. During the debate, a majority of treasury members left the house.
Raheel Anwer demanded an apology.
Independent member Ahsan Riaz Fatiana also complained that he was ignored.
PTI’s Asif Mehmood Khan taped his mouth to protest over the speaker’s attitude and the opposition boycotted the proceedings again.
The speaker then started a pre-budget discussion which was addressed by a few speeches of the treasury benches.
The pre-budget will continue till Friday.
At the end, the speaker sent minister Malik Nadeem Kamran to bring in the opposition. The opposition returned and asked the speaker to present Mashhood in the house for pardon on Thursday morning.
The session was adjourned till Thursday (today).
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2014.