—–Question-hour put on hold because of suspension of minister’s membership
LAHORE: The sheer apathy and lack of interest from the treasury benches resulted in the adjournment of the session of Punjab Assembly just within five minutes for one day on Monday.
According to the details, the 32nd session of the Punjab Assembly started after the delay of four-long hours from its scheduled time with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan in the chair and managed to last just a few minutes as the speaker had to adjourn the session till Tuesday morning due to a lack of quorum.
Soon after the recitation of Holy Quran and naat, a lawmaker of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from Lahore Dr Murad Ras pointed out the quorum while speaking on the point of order, when speaker Rana Iqbal said that the concerned minister has requested for pending the questions related to his department as the minister could not come to the house for some reason. “We are here for last four hours waiting for the proceedings to begin and it is really unfortunate that it happened the very first day of this session. The attendance of the treasury benches show how serious they are in running this house,” Dr Murad said.
The concerned minister could not come to the house because his membership was suspended by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not submitting the statement of assets and liabilities, the opposition lawmaker said. He further added that the government can meet the quorum by just ensuring the presence of around 100 lawmakers in the house but it seems that the treasury is not serious in running this august body.
In the session, questions related to the Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering departments were supposed to be answered by the concerned minister Syed Haroon Sultan Bukhari but his membership of the Punjab Assembly was suspended by the ECP for not submitting the statement of assets and liabilities.
It is worth mentioning here that the ECP has issued lists on Monday in which the membership of 7 senators, 71 MNAs, 84 Punjab Assembly MPAs, 50 Sindh Assembly MPAs, 38 KPK MPAs and 11 Balochistan MPAs got suspended for not submitting the statements of assets and liabilities. Minister for Women Development Hameeda Waheed ud Din, Minister for Higher Education Raza Ali Gillani, Minister for Cooperatives Malik Iqbal Channar and Minister for Special Education Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique were among notables whose memberships also got suspended by the ECP.
Interestingly, leader of the opposition Mian Mehmood ur Rashid was also missing from the house on the very first day of the 32nd session. Talking to Pakistan Today, PTI MPA Asif Mehmood said that the leader of the opposition is in Islamabad right now as a meeting of party’s core committee was scheduled there under the chair of Imran Khan. “We pointed out the quorum because treasury was not taking the questions of legislators during the question-hour and those questions were directly linked with the problems of the people,” he said.