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LAHORE: The quorum issue cost the Punjab Assembly more than 90 minutes of its proceedings but it was finally completed after hectic effort by the Treasury and the speaker who prolonged his 15-minute adjournment to well over an hour.

The government had lost the assembly proceedings to the same crisis during the last two days but Wednesday’s proceedings were crucial as it had to lay five ordinances in the House and extend life of another three which were expiring within this week.

The Punjab Assembly also passed a resolution supporting former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, praising him for ending the menaces of “loadshedding and terrorism and launching the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).” The house also pledged to defend the ex-prime minister both politically and legally at every forum and not only expose all conspiracies against democracy but also foil it.

The wording of resolution naturally irked four members of the opposition but failed to stop its passage.

The proceedings started 65 minutes late than the stipulated time of 10am and the House took up Question Hour, with a very thin attendance. As soon as the Question Hour ended, Leader of the Opposition Mian Mahmoodur Rashid made his appearance, only to get up on a point of order and berate the government for traffic mismanagement during the cricket match.

“The government should better spare a helicopter to take team from hotel to stadium and spare the masses agony on the roads. For the last two days, half of the city is going through nerve-wracking experience on the roads. Out of 20 million city dwellers, 10 million are suffering because of traffic jams. The government must do something about it.

“Security for foreign players is paramount but sending the entire city panicking in the name of security is something else, and this something else is what the Punjab government is doing. This should not go on,” he blasted.

Murad Rass of the PTI thought that since Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was not around, his chopper should be put to some use: shuttling the team between the hotel and the stadium.

Tahir Khalil Sindhu, minister for minorities, while admitting people’s plight, asked the opposition to take a nationalistic view of the situation. This cost is being borne for revival of the cricket. “But, yes the government should, and would, do all it can to lessen the inconvenience.”

As soon as the debate on traffic ended, the House took up adjournment motions and the leader of the opposition was again up on his seat as he wanted to take up his motion on price hike out of turn. The Chair obliged. He read his motion and left the house, pointing out quorum to his other colleagues.

Asif Mahmood of the PTI obliged and numbers were found far less than the mandatory requirement. Five minutes of bell ringing was ordered which did not help. The proceedings were adjourned for 15 minutes. The Speaker, however, returned to the House after almost 70 minutes when the treasury had assembled the required numbers.

As soon as the House found the quorum complete, the minister in-charge (Tahir Khalil) stood up to run through the official business which included laying of six ordinances, introduction of three bills and extension of three ordinances.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2017