10-day break in PA session ‘unconstitutional’

Updated 28 Jul 2020

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PML-N Chief Whip Khalil Tahir Sindhu told the media after the session that the government had been lawmaking in an “unconstitutional” manner. — APP/File
PML-N Chief Whip Khalil Tahir Sindhu told the media after the session that the government had been lawmaking in an “unconstitutional” manner. — APP/File

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly proceedings were unusually put off for 10 days on Monday to, what the opposition claimed, meet the constitutional requirement of keeping the house in session for at least 100 days in a parliamentary year.

The parliamentary year for the existing house of the provincial assembly begins from Aug 15. So far, it has met for 94 days.

At the conclusion of the day’s agenda, Panel of Chairmen Mian Muhammad Shafi told the lawmakers that the house was being adjourned for Aug 7. The opposition protested and asserted that the step was unconstitutional as the proceedings could be put off only for two consecutive days.

PML-N Chief Whip Khalil Tahir Sindhu told the media after the session that the government had been lawmaking in an “unconstitutional” manner, while the assembly session was also adjourned for Aug 7 on the directions of “some public relations director”.

Constitutionally, he said, a session could not be put off for more than two consecutive days otherwise a new notification had to be issued for summoning the session.

Punjab Assembly’s Rules of Business do not specify the number of days for adjourning a session. However, a Supreme Court order bans payment of travelling and daily allowances (TA/DA) to lawmakers if proceedings of an elected house are adjourned for more than two consecutive days.

Earlier, written queries of members related to the information and culture department were responded to by Parliamentary Secretary Nadeem Qureshi during the Question Hour.

He told the house that for the promotion of Punjabi language, art and culture, FM radio stations were set up in Rawalpindi and Multan, the scope of which was extended to divisional level.

Replying to a question of PML-N MPA Malik Arshad, he said the Punjab government had conducted 40 events in Sahiwal according to the culture of the province. The people of the area took these programmes as entertainment, he claimed.

He told MPA Sadia Teymour that the Punjab government had launched a campaign to release artists support fund. Under this campaign, Rs5,000 per month would be given to each needy artist who registers themselves.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2020