LAHORE: In a rare move, the government introduced official business on a private members day of the Punjab Assembly when it met on the first day of the 30th session here on Tuesday.
Amid cries of foul and boycott by the opposition, Law Minister Raja Basharat put before the house 11 ordinances and two new bills.
The opposition termed it unconstitutional, as the bills were neither on the agenda for the day nor treasury usually lays official business on a day fixed for taking up bills and resolutions of private members. The opposition members walked out of the House for, what they said, not wanting to become part of an “illegal” and “unconstitutional” act.
Minister Basharat was not available for comments as the Press Gallery was abuzz with rumours about what made the government introduce its business on private members day as the assembly session was to continue for a week.
Opposition boycotts proceedings, calls move ‘illegal, ‘unconstitutional’
In the absence of PML-N and PPP lawmakers, the government got eight of the bills passed: the Punjab Sugar Factories Control (Amendment) Bill 2020; the Punjab Infectious Diseases (Prevention and Control) Bill; Ravi Urban Development Authority; Punjab Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2021; Lahore Central District Business Authority Bill 2021; Punjab Letters of Administration and Succession Certificates Bill, Punjab Enforcement of Women Property Rights Bill 2021; and Emerson University Multan, Bill.
The University of Child Health Sciences Bill 2021 and Punjab Educational Institutions Bill 2021 were also introduced.
Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi lauded the law minister for his role in the peaceful handling of the protests by the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan. The chair recalled that the House had unanimously passed a law on mentioning Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as the last prophet in all textbooks.
He also applauded Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking a bold position for the honour of the Prophet (PBUH) and talking to ambassadors of Muslim countries for adopting a joint stance on the issue.
He hoped that the premier would take the issue to other international forums too.
Proceedings of the house were later put off for Wednesday morning (today).
Talking to the media outside the assembly, PML-N lawmaker Azma Bukhari said the government failed to establish standing committees of the House during the last two and a half years, halting the process of vetting and passage of more than 40 bills.
Flanked by MPA Awais Leghari and Taufiq Butt, she lamented that the “inept” government could not convene a pre-budget session this year to seek suggestions from the lawmakers.
She also chided the government for its failure to ensure smooth supply of sugar in the open market as people were forced to stand in long queues to get the sweetener.
Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2021