Budget debate: House passes demands for grants through guillotine

Sanaullah not involved in Model Town incident, says Law Minister Mashhood.


Abdul Manan June 23, 2014

LAHORE:


The Punjab Assembly on Monday passed all 43 demands for grants in the Punjab budget for the coming fiscal year.


The assembly resumed the budget session. Speaker Rana Iqbal presided over the session and concluded the discussion and voting on demands for grants. Of the 43 demands for grants, only the budget for police was discussed, voted and approved of on Friday.

The speaker invoked the guillotine at around 6pm and each demand for grants was directly put to vote without discussion.

On Tuesday (today), the house will discuss and pass the Finance Bill 2014. The schedule for Authorised Expenditures for 2014-2015 will then be laid, after which the provincial budget will be approved.

The opposition had earlier moved six cut motions but only discussed four of them in the two days allocated for the demands for grants. The remaining two fell under the speaker’s guillotine.

On Monday, the opposition spoke on three cut-motions regarding Health Services, Education and Agriculture. The opposition delivered its point of view but the motions were lost as the treasury benches passed the budget for the departments with majority. The opposition failed to take up its motions on General Administration and Irrigation Works.

Law Minister Rana Mashhood, who recently took up the additional portfolio of Law Department, said former law minister Rana Sanaullah Khan had not been involved in the June 17 incident at Model Town. He said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had asked Sanaullah to step down in order to make the inquiry on the incident as transparent as possible.

He said Sanaullah tendered his resignation in order to satisfy critics and so that he could appear before the Judicial Commission as an ordinary citizen.

He said a joint investigation team comprising IB, ISI and MI officials would probe the incident and fix responsibility.

He said Sanaullah’s role in strengthening democracy was commendable. He said lawmakers of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had learnt a lot from Sanaullah as he was an institution within himself. He said Sanaullah had sacrificed a lot for democracy in the past and had done so again. Leader of Opposition Mehmoodur Rashid said that the opposition had raised the issue of the Model Town incident in the assembly at around 11:30am on June 17 but Sanaullah and the speaker had completely ignored the issue then and had failed to convey the message to relevant authorities.

He said if the chief minister had intervened on time, the loss of so many lives could have been avoided. No one shoots directly at protesters even under martial law, he said. Earlier while criticising the blockades placed in Rawalpindi and Lahore, Rashid said that three of the opposition’s MPAs from Rawalpindi could not arrive in the house.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 24th, 2014.

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