Govt pressurising MPAs ahead of voting for Punjab CM, says opposition

Published July 20, 2022
In this file photo, former Punjab law minister Raja Basharat addresses a press conference in Lahore. — DawnNewsTV
In this file photo, former Punjab law minister Raja Basharat addresses a press conference in Lahore. — DawnNewsTV

LAHORE: The opposition in Punjab Assembly alleges that its MPAs are being threatened and pressurised by the government through intelligence agencies and police to ‘manipulate’ the voting for the chief minister.

In a resolution tabled by PTI leader Raja Basharat in the ongoing controversial session of the assembly, chaired by Speaker Parvez Elahi on Tuesday, it was alleged that ‘the terrorism’ by both the federal and provincial governments is at its peak as complaints are being received from members of this house that intelligence agencies are tracing locations and they are receiving phone calls from the powers that matter. The threats are being hurled and pressure is being built through police, it said.

“The July 22 election is being held on the Supreme Court order. There are clear directions from the Supreme Court that any attempt to sabotage the election process will be considered as contempt of court.

“Therefore, it is requested that this resolution is adopted and the relevant agencies are warned to refrain from illegal intervention,” said the resolution read out by Raja Basharat in the session being boycotted by the government MPAs from its day one.

Basharat submits resolution in PA session to bar ‘agencies’ from intervention

The opposition has also moved the LHC against the government’s alleged highhandedness. Besides, it is also moving its lawmakers to a hotel in an apparent bid to avert any attempt of influencing their loyalties either through incentives or threats.

In the first electoral contest for the office of the chief minister held on April 16, the then opposition PML-N had also housed its own lawmakers and of the allied parties in a hotel for about a week. It also decided to again assemble the MPAs supporting its candidate, Hamza Shehbaz, in a hotel and then jointly reach the assembly on July 22 to take part in the election for the CM.

Meanwhile, taking advantage of the absence of the Treasury MPAs, the opposition passed the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab Secretariat Services (Repeal and Revival) Bill 2022, and the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab Privileges (Repeal and Revival) Bill 2022. As copies of the bills, unlike the tradition, were not distributed among the press gallery members, it could not be ascertained what changes had been made to the laws. However, it is believed to be aimed at freeing the assembly secretariat from the control of the Punjab law department secretary and restoring powers of the speaker for penalising any officer for breaching privilege of the house or any member.

The assembly secretariat had been put under the law secretary and powers of the speaker were reduced through two earlier laws passed at a session summoned on the orders of the governor at a building close to the assembly chambers last month. The session was boycotted by the opposition.

The house on Tuesday also passed the Lahore City University Bill 2021 moved by a private member, Saadia Suhail Rana. Copies of the resolution and of the university bills were also not distributed among the press gallery members. Instead, only some hand-written pages of the resolution and one carrying titles of the bills were given to the media and that too as WhatsApp images.

Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2022

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