LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed The Punjab Alternate Dispute Resolution Bill 2019 with majority votes of the treasury members, rejecting numerous amendments sought in the bill by the opposition.
Law Minister Raja Basharat also laid four ordinances which Speaker Pervaiz Elahi referred to the standing committees concerned for reports in two months. They are: The University of Mianwali Ordinance, The Punjab Public Private Partnership Ordinance, The Punjab Medical Teaching Institutions (Reforms) Ordinance and the Punjab Probation and Parole Service Ordinance.
The amendments were mainly presented by PML-N’s seasoned MPA Waris Kalloo who said the bill clashed with other related laws in the country and it would face the fate of the Local Government Act that was also passed in a hurry.
Opposition concerns remain unaddressed
He said the law could change the entire dispute resolution system in the country in violation of the constitution. The government was commercialising the justice system and taking over powers of the judiciary, he said.
Ms Rabia Naseem Farooqi and another PML-N member also presented some amendments.
While opposing all of these, the law minister said the opposition should have read the draft of the bill as it already provided answers to their questions. “They are unprepared,” he said, as the speaker completed procedure of the passage of the bill.
The opposition pointed out short quorum just before the start of the legislation. But the treasury managed to maintain it, though with the minimum members required for the purpose.
CANCER PATIENTS: PPP’s Hasan Murtaza cornered the government over the death of four cancer patients because of, what he alleged, its failure to provide vital drug to nearly 3,300 of them in the province.
He lamented that the cancer patients had to take to the street to press for the supply of the drug and held the health minister responsible for the deaths.
Speaker Pervaiz Elahi supported Mr Murtaza and said its stoppage now was a matter of concern.
He stopped Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid several times when she was explaining her position. She said the five-year contract for the supply of the drug with the multinational company expired in June. And the government started an internal audit of the Rs6 billion spent on the drug. In the meantime, she said, the company stopped supply of the drug. But it was resuming it now.
The speaker said the health department should have kept considerable stock in hand for meeting such emergencies. He asked the minister to hold an inquiry into the matter and fix responsibility.
CHUNIAN INCIDENT: The law minister rejected the idea that the government was behind the destruction of property of MPA Sheikh Allauddin in Chunian on Thursday when he had gone there to pacify the mob agitating the murder of three minor boys there.
“We want peace and such action would have disturbed it,” he clarified.
He said all possible efforts would be made to trace the killers of the children and to support their poor families.
The speaker rejected a point of order by PML-N’s Raheela Khadim Hussain who objected to prime minister’s speech at Torkham Border on the Kashmir issue. He said Mr Khan was pleading the Kashmir case much more than any political leader in the country.
He also assured Rana Mashood that he and the law minister would talk to the chief minister on the issue of the production orders of Hamza Shahbaz.
The speaker refrained from referring a privilege motion to the privilege committee on the request of the law minister. The motion was sought to be moved by a treasury member seeking action against the provincial finance department officials who, he said, had put hurdles in the increase in the salaries and privileges of the assembly members.
Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2019