LAHORE: The treasury blocked the introduction of the Punjab Emergency Service (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the Punjab Assembly when the house met here on Tuesday as the law minister argued that being a money bill it could not be moved by a private member.
PML-Q MPA Khadija Umar is the mover of the bill.
Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja requested Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi to pend the bill for Thursday as the government was drafting its own bill and would move it other than the Private Members Day.
On the other hand, most of the MPAs, particularly from the opposition benches, pushed for introducing the bill there and then.
Benches trade allegations on Daska disturbance
PML-N’s Samiullah Khan stressed for passing the bill immediately to encourage other members to work on drafting bills on the sectors being ignored by the government.
He recalled that the Sikh Marriage Act was passed on the Private Members Day.
Khalil Tahir Sandhu, another N-Leaguer, urged the speaker, who as the chief minister (2002-07) had introduced the Rescue 1122 emergency service, to play his role in the passage of the bill, saying the incumbent government would do nothing in this respect, while who knows that what would be the conditions in the country after Senate polls.
Countering the opposition’s claims, Basharat Raja said that the PML-N during its two five-year tenures had convened only two meetings on the Emergency Service, while the incumbent government had held two sittings during its two and half years tenure so far.
He also challenged the opposition to compare the house proceedings’ record of the PML-N two tenures with the PTI’s half tenure about how many private bills were allowed to be taken up and the latter would be found leading in this respect.
The house passed the University of Faisalabad (Amendment) Bill, 2021, moved by MPA Mian Muhammad Shafi.
Both the treasury and opposition also leveled allegations against each other on the violence during polling for Daska by-election as well as the ‘disappearance’ of some presiding officers for hours after the polling and count of the vote was over.
PPP’s Hassan Murtaza said that the people witnessed the worst day during the by-polls as motorcyclists were carrying lethal weapons with impunity. He said what the Election Commission of Pakistan commented on the performance of the Punjab administration and police was also an embarrassment for the government.
PML-N’s Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan said that no untoward incident was reported during by-polls in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, while two innocent lives were lost in the Daska by-polls and that the Punjab government was responsible for these deaths.
Awais Leghari, another N Leaguer, questioned that a government that could not conduct by-polls in one constituency peacefully could not be trusted to hold local body elections across the province.
He urged the government to hold an inquiry into the Daska fiasco on its own instead of relying just on the ECP probe.
The law minister responded that the PML-N government had not opened four constituencies despite sit-ins by Imran Khan, while the PTI government offered re-polling in the 20 controversial polling stations a few days after the by-election.
He said the ECP had formed an inquiry committee and the government would implement whatever the findings of this body would be. He said justice would be done even if any officer or political party was found involved in the Daska violence.
He, however, said that just one party could not be singled out for the situation in Daska and what happened was a collective action warranting ascertainment of the real culprits.
Later, the session convened on the requisition of the opposition was prorogued sine die after a one-day sitting.
Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2021