LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has warned provincial ministers that they should either vacate rooms they have “illegally” occupied in the MPAs’ hostel or face humiliation of forced eviction.

Presiding over the assembly session here on Thursday, he asked the ministers to immediately vacate rooms in the MPAs’ hostel as they all had been allotted official residences.

He said though he didn’t want a war [like situation] for getting the rooms vacated, he would first put names of the “room grabbers” on their respective tables and then publicly name them and as last resort, he would get trucks parked outside their rooms for loading their luggage and forcibly evict them from the hostel. He said there’s a shortage of rooms, particularly for women members, as not a single room had been added to the MPAs residential facility during the last 10 years. Now, a new block comprising 150 rooms was being constructed to accommodate more legislators.

Earlier, minority member Ramesh Singh Arora took oath of his office as an MPA. He has been nominated by the PML-N against a reserved seat that had fallen vacant because of demise of a member, Muneer Masih.

Thanking former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for nominating him for second time for the seat, he also lauded Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa for taking personal interest in opening the Kartarpur Corridor.

Mr Arora won fame by getting enacted a law for registration of Sikh marriages, for the first time in any country across the globe.

He condemned the controversial Indian citizenship law, saying it had rendered minorities insecure in India.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2020