Ensuring physical distancing: Only 100 MPAs to attend Punjab Assembly session tomorrow

Updated 14 Jul 2020

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Remaining members can see live coverage of the proceedings while sitting in the cafeteria and/or committee rooms. — Dawn/File
Remaining members can see live coverage of the proceedings while sitting in the cafeteria and/or committee rooms. — Dawn/File

LAHORE: Not more than 100 lawmakers from the treasury and opposition parties will attend the Punjab Assembly session starting from tomorrow (Wednesday).

The decision was taken at the Business Advisory Committee meeting held through video link and chaired by Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi here on Monday to discuss standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the session, which is likely to continue for two weeks though the assembly secretariat has so far issued agenda for 11 days.

The meeting was attended by provincial law minister Muhammad Basharat Raja, MPAs Malik Nadeem Kamran, Syed Abbas Ali, Khalil Tahir Sindhu, Muhammad Moavia, Assembly Secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti and Parliamentary Affairs Director General Inayatullah Lak.

The previous session, in which budget for the financial year 2020-21 was also passed, had been held in a hotel adjacent to the assembly building as the chamber of the assembly could not accommodate all the 371 members simultaneously while ensuring social distancing given the Covid-19.

The decision to hold the session for the first time outside the assembly building had invited criticism from some quarters.

The committee decided that the new session would be held at the assembly chambers, but not more than 52 members of the treasury and 48 of the opposition would join the proceedings. The remaining members could only see live coverage of the proceedings on large TV screens while sitting in the cafeteria and/or committee rooms.

The speaker said that special care would be taken for ensuring implementation of the SOPs during the session. All members and assembly employees would especially be careful about donning face mask and using sanitisers.

The law minister told the meeting that a strategy was also being prepared for Eidul Azha and Muharrum-ul-Haram gatherings by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) at its moot in the Punjab capital.

He said the SOPs for media coverage of the session would be prepared in consultation with the Press Gallery committee.

The meeting also offered fateha for the departed soul of Lahore High Court ex-judge Zahid Hussain Bokhari, the father of PML-N MPA Ms Azma Bokhari.

Published in Dawn, July 14th, 2020