Opposition boycotts PA session to protest ministers’ absence
LAHORE: The opposition boycotted the Punjab Assembly proceedings on Monday in protest at the absence of ministers from the house.
Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP’s) Ashraf Sohna drew the chair’s attention to the absence of ministers from the house, and announced boycott in protest. However, his party’s Fauzia Behram and PML-Q’s Humaira Awais did not join the boycott.
“The absence of ministers shows how serious the government is in running the business of the house,” Mr Sohna said. The moment the opposition announced walkout, PPP’s Faiza Malik pointed out quorum after which Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhud Ahmed Khan, who was in the chair, adjourned the proceedings till Tuesday.
Earlier, on the point of order, Hasan Murtaza (PPP) said the “Punjab government is making a plan in collusion with middlemen to buy per 40kg wheat at the rate of between Rs700 and Rs800”. The federal government has announced a support price of Rs940. He said it was the inefficiency of the provincial government that one million wheat bags were still lying in the storage. He said the farmers would face the brunt of the “inefficiency” of the provincial government at the end of the day.
There was furor in the house when a PML-Q breakaway faction bloc (Unification bloc) member sat on the seat of a minister. The opposition protested and asked the speaker to send the member to his seat. On refusal, PML-Q’s Seemal Kamran also sat on a minister seat. Chaudhry Zaheeruddin said the speaker had given his ruling that the Unification bloc was part of treasury. “It means that turncoats have now joined the treasury,” he said.
On point of order, Shaukat Basra (PPP) said the chief justice of Pakistan should take suo motu on the judicial murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, those attacked on the Supreme Court building, target killings in Karachi and a petition pending against Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
The house reverberated with the slogans of “lota lota” when Unification bloc’s Sheikh Allauddin rose from his seat to respond to the comments of Q’s Amna Ulfat who had offered her resignation in case the Unification bloc mustered the support of 47 members. She and Abdullah Yousuf Warraich also criticised Allauddin for making the Quad-i-Azam “controversial”. On the request of the law minister the chair stopped the members from discussing the Quaid-i-Azam with reference to his joining one party or another. During the Question Hour, Zafar Iqbal Nagra, parliamentary secretary for housing, appeared ill prepared while responding the queries of the opposition members. Azma Bokhari asked the chair not to waste the house time as Mr Nagra was not prepared to give “satisfactory” answers.