LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly speaker is adamant on ‘protecting’ the sanctity of the house on Nazir Chohan’s production issue, though the MPA himself shows his inability to attend the assembly session for being hospitalised due to a cardiac problem.
“I shall never let anyone violate the sanctity of the house and its members, come what may. The officers who didn’t implement my production orders [for Mr Chohan who is in FIA custody] would be held accountable at all costs,” Chaudhry Parvez Elahi said soon after proceedings of the session began after a two-day break here on Monday afternoon.
His remarks came after Prisons Minister Fayyaz Chohan told the house that Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shehzad Akbar and Nazir Chohan had been reconciled. And that the latter had written a letter in this regard to the speaker.
He read out the letter wherein Mr Chohan lauded Mr Elahi for playing a ‘positive’ role on his issue and explained that as he was hospitalised due to a cardiac problem he was unable to join the house proceedings.
The MPA said he would attend the session as soon as his health improved, informing the chair that his dispute with Mr Akbar stood resolved after the latter clarified his position regarding his faith in finality of the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH).
The speaker had been adjourning the proceedings for two days without allowing transaction of any business and threatening that no government bill would be put up for legislation until Mr Chohan was produced in the house.
The ruling party MPA had been taken into custody by the FIA on Wednesday (July 28) on a complaint by Shehzad Akbar for running a ‘malicious’ campaign and delivering a ‘hate speech’ against him on social media platforms.
PML-N’s Ashraf Rasool said the dispute between Mr Akbar and Mr Chohan stood resolved but legal action must be initiated against the officials, who didn’t implement the chair’s production orders.
Mr Elahi appreciated the minister for reconciling the two ruling party leaders but pledged to hold accountable at all costs those who violated the production orders and thus breached privileges of the house.
Thanking both the treasury and opposition lawmakers for their support on the production orders issue, he urged them to re-pass the Punjab Assembly (Privileges) (Amendment) bill 2021 as the earlier one was sent back by the governor instead of signing it into a law the other day.
Alleging that the bureaucracy misled the governor on the bill, he said “the voice for re-passing the bill should be loud enough to be heard at far-off places as the second time passage of the bill will do away with the need for signatures of the governor to become a formal law.”
The bill provides for certain penalties, both fine and jail terms, on bureaucrats for breaching privileges on the assembly members while assigning the judicial powers to the speaker and a committee of the house.
The speaker adjourned the proceedings for Tuesday afternoon (today) when the Question Hour was taken up and the house was informed that the food secretary was ‘missing’ though queries pertaining to his department were to be replied during the sitting.
Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2021