Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told the provincial assembly on Tuesday that though the government wanted to bring forth the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Bill, several lawmakers’ reservations had slowed it down. The bill has been pending since June.
The House, meanwhile, passed five resolutions on its private members’ day before being prorogued indefinitely.
The session started with a delay of 13 minutes. It was chaired by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal. The ministers for law, cooperatives, mines and minerals attended the session.
“We have held many meetings to address reservations on the [women protection] bill, but some lawmakers are still apprehensive about it. The government remains committed to legislate over an issue which has, at times, been a source of hurt and embarrassment for all of us,” Sanaullah said.
He said the government hoped to address the matter as well as resolve the pending issue of bringing salaries of lawmakers at a par with other provincial assemblies within the week. “However, with the announcement of the local government election schedule, there is mounting pressure from lawmakers to cut short the on-going session so that they are able to participate in the preparations for the polls,” he said.
Of the six resolutions tabled, five were unanimously passed.
Dr Syed Waseem Akhtar’s resolution calling for rehabilitation and assistance of flood-affected people of southern Punjab; MPA Ramesh Singh Arora’s resolution calling for a road, monument or building to be named after Maharaja Ranjeet Singh; and Sibtain Khan’s resolution calling for regulation and quality of halal meat were carried.
Khadija Umar’s resolution called for condemning the deaths of civilians due to unprovoked Indian aggression at the working boundary. It paid rich tribute to the armed forces. It also called upon the federal government to raise the issue on an international forum.
A pending resolution moved by Mian Aslam Iqbal, calling for compensation for families of people who lost their lives in terrorist attacks was also passed unanimously. The resolution had been moved last week and had been kept pending after the law minister said that treating politicians differently from other citizens would lead to public resentment.
A resolution calling for abolition of entry tests for admissions to medical colleges and universities, moved by Nabeela Hakim, was withdrawn after assurances by the chair and the law minister that there would be a detailed discussion on the subject in the House.
Abdul Manan was asked to leave the House for using his mobile phone during the session.
Referring to the Kasur child abuse complaints, Rana Sanaullah said that 29 cases had been registered so far. “No other victims have come forward.
The investigation into the cases by intelligence agencies will conclude in a week,” he said. The law minister said the joint investigation report would be available for the House to review.
Attacks on farmhouses of Raheela Anwar and Mian Aslam Iqbal were also brought up. The law minister assured the House that the government was serious in addressing the issue.
Azma Bukhari’s adjournment motion about students who had been stopped from taking supplementary examinations was referred to the standing committee on education.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2015.