Coalition partners still at odds over media role
LAHORE: Coalition partners in Punjab have failed to reconcile on the issue of handling a certain media group as PPP members on Thursday again tried to charge the group with misreporting even on the Punjab Assembly affairs.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan with the help of the deputy speaker made a ‘successful’ intervention, demanding that the junior partner take the recourse set while resolving the anti-media resolution adopted by the House in its previous (19th) session.
Soon after the Question Hour was over, a PPP legislator from Bahawalnagar, Shaukat Basra took the floor on a point of order drawing attention of the chair towards a news item that said the PPP failed to bring a resolution against the group in the house.
He regretted that the PML-N and Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal did not allow them to vent their anger against the organisation allegedly conspiring to wrap up the democratic system restored after nine-year dictatorship.
As Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhud, who was presiding over the session, interrupted Basra, Azma Bukhari of the PPP and the law minister also stood up.
The minister opposed the use of the house for what he said “one-sided propaganda” and said all should take the recourse earlier decided unanimously.
Referring to the PPP claims of sacrifices for democracy, he said no one considered oneself the sole champion of democracy as the PML-N and other segments of society including the media did not lag behind in this regard. All these would safeguard the system too, he said.
Regarding complaints against the media, he said a committee chaired by (PPP) Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira with representation of all parliamentary parties and the media was already working. If the body, he said, failed to redress the grievance, everyone would be free to take one’s own course. But, he stressed, the complaint should be relevant to this house.
Basra accused Rana Sana of being “more loyal than the king”, cautioning the minister not to become a part of the conspiracy to wind up the system.
Wondering when she attempted to table the anti-media resolution as alleged in the news report, Ms Bukhari demanded referring the matter to the committee which must summon the media tycoon for questioning.
Apparently to tame the PML-N and subdue its resistance to the media-bashing, she recalled that the same group had in 1997-98 launched a campaign against then prime minister Nawaz Sharif when it was issued notices for payment of taxes amounting to billions.
She said she had raised questions about the assets of certain anchorpersons as a matter of right and not to insult anyone and would continue to do so until it was answered.
Rana Sana said if they (PPP) wished to raise such questions, then it should have to answer their (media’s) 18 questions. It provoked both Basra and Bukhari as the chair disallowed them floor.
PML-N MPA Zaeem Qadri protested the PPP law-makers’ remarks against Sanaullah, seeking their deletion from record.