PA session continues tranquilly sans opposition

Assembly staff flouts chair’s orders as no one attended budget session at Aiwan-e-Iqbal

The one-sided budget session of the Punjab Assembly continues at Aiwan-e-Iqbal in the absence of the opposition and assembly staff.

The opposition benches were presenting a deserted look for the third consecutive day at Aiwan-e-Iqbal as the PTI and PML-Q are holding their parallel session at the chambers of the Punjab Assembly. The assembly staff also flouted the orders passed by the chair as they didn’t appear in the session at Aiwan-e-Iqbal. Punjab Assembly’s Special Secretary Amir Habib was assigned the task of the acting secretary by Deputy Speaker the other day. After taking charge as acting secretary, Amir Habib directed the other staff of the Punjab Assembly to reach Aiwan-e-Iqbal but no one obliged.

Assembly’s four wings – Legislation, Estate, Security and Reporting section – were directed to report too but in vain. The Panel of Chairman Khalil Tahir Sandhu contacted Chief Security Officer Sardar Akbar Nasir, Director Estate Asim Cheema, Chief Reporter Mehar Umar Daraz and Special Secretary Ali Imran Rizvi but no one bothered to take the session seriously. The Panel of Chairman once again invited the opposition leader to come to the House to give his budget speech but the opposition benches were deserted.

“The opposition’s lawmakers should come here and give suggestions regarding their constituencies. It is the last day of submitting the cut-motions on budget,” the chair said. Later, the treasury MPAs started giving their speeches while lauding the provincial budget presented by Sardar Awais Laghari. The lawmakers were all praised for the Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and said the PML-N will steer the country out of the economic crisis.

There was no opposition to confronting the government and the treasury MPAs were cool and calm at their benches as the show was completely one-sided. A large number of PML-N MPAs were seen gossiping in the House while some of them were talking on the cell phones. Around two dozen MPAs of treasury benches were seen approaching Chief Minister Hamza’s seat who was present in the House for a brief time. The lawmakers were giving him written chits of paper regarding the issues of their constituencies. The CM was also seen giving directions to the members of his kitchen cabinet.

There was no juicy speech by the lawmakers as they were only criticizing the previous government while lauding the present set-up of Punjab. PPP’s MPA from Rahim Yar Khan Mumtaz Chang delivered his speech in Saraiki. He said that there is no clean water in his constituency while the people of his area are also deprived of a college and university. He was of the view that he wasn’t allowed by Speaker Parvez Elahi to speak in the House during the last three and half years.

“Those who talked about Riasat-E-Madina failed to give us South Punjab province,” the lawmaker said. He went on to say that instead of making South Punjab province, the PTI government ruined the law and order of the region. He revealed that he has to travel with the convoy of over 100 gunmen even in his constituency due to poor law and order there. The PPP MPA also offered to give his land free of cost to the government if it is interested in establishing a college or university there.

MPAs Ch Iqbal Gujjar, Bushra Anjum Butt, Taufeeq Butt and Mian Naseer also spoke on the provincial budget. Meanwhile, the Punjab Assembly also passed a resolution unanimously moved by PML-N’s Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora condemning an attack on a gurdwara in Afghanistan. The House demanded the federal government ensure complete protection to the Sikh community through the Afghan government. The session was later adjourned to meet again on Monday (today) at 2 pm.