LAHORE: Except for the arrival of a Sindh Assembly delegation, the Punjab Assembly session on Tuesday was a dull affair, and even the routine bickering, teasing and exchange of cutting remarks that give some colour of its kind to the house were missing.

The session as usual began much late than its scheduled time of 11am. Law Minister Raja Basharat at the outset welcomed the Sindh Assembly delegation members who watched the session from the visitors’ gallery. He said such an exchange of inter-provincial delegations helps learn from each other’s experiences.

He said it would have been better had the speaker asked the provincial government to brief the delegation on its performance. Exchange of delegations of parliamentarians would help remove misunderstandings among provinces, he said.

Minister Chaudhry Zaheer, former Speaker Rana Iqbal who represented the opposition, and Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari also welcomed the delegation. Most questions on the local government department were either disposed of or kept pending because of the absence of the members who had asked them.

The deputy speaker asked Parliamentary Secretary of the department Ahmad Khan Bachar to admonish officials of his department for not furnishing answers to questions asked many months ago. One such was asked on Jan 24 this year. Mr Bachar said he had issued show-cause notices to the officials concerned.

Sindh PA delegation watches proceedings

Replying to a question, by Ms Hina Pervaiz Butt promised to take action against the staff in whose presence people had made encroachments in the Fatehgarh locality.

PML-N’s Kanwal Pervaiz Chaudhary cornered Mr Bachar on the issue of lack of maintenance of water filtration plants in Lahore. She said half of the 99 plants had become dysfunctional because of lack of maintenance and change of their filters.

At last he asked her to provide information of the dysfunctional plants but she said “what would you do if I am even required to collect such data.”

Private Bill: The house allowed with consensus PTI’s Sadia Sohail Rana to move The Punjab Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2019. It was referred to the standing committee concerned for report within two months.

Resolutions: The house unanimously adopted a resolution by Safdar Shakir which was earlier opposed by the food minister. The resolution urged the government to make sugar millers pay their dues to the sugarcane growers.

The minister said nearly 99pc payments had been made and stern action was being taken against the millers who were reluctant to follow suit.

PTI’s Shahida Ahmad withdrew her resolution seeking free travel for people over 65 years of age in the public sector transport.

MPA Hina Pervaiz Butt’s two resolutions were disposed of after they were opposed by the ministers concerned.

The house kept pending an adjournment motion sought to be moved by PML-N’s Khalil Tahir Sandhu, asking the house to request the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to return the Edward College to its management which he said had been taken over by it (the government).

He said the action had annoyed the Christian community and had defamed the country at an international level.

The law minister said it was not good for the assembly of one province to ask another province to withdraw any action. He said the KP information minister had already contradicted the report, asking the mover to come to his office where he would contact the KP ministers concerned to know the reality.

The session was adjourned till Wednesday afternoon.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2019

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