LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly endorsed the federal government’s effort to start a process of talks with the Taliban, as the treasury and opposition benches unanimously passed a joint resolution on Friday in this regard.
In the resolution, it was stated that the House of the provincial assembly appreciated the process of talks for the sake of peace in Pakistan, having a hope to end anarchy and lawlessness in the country.
The resolution was moved by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Opposition Leader in the House Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed with the consent of Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah.
Although a treasury member, Sheikh Allauddin, tried to move some amendment in the resolution – raising objection on the mover who belonged to the PTI – as to why his (the mover) party did not bring the same resolution in the provincial assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where they were in power.
However, the speaker – avoiding making the issue controversial – did not allow him (Sheikh) to speak on the floor and the resolution was passed by the House unanimously.
The Punjab Assembly’s session on Friday started two hours late from its scheduled time under the chair of Speaker Rana Iqbal.
Soon after reciting the Holy Quran and the naat, the House adopted the question hour in which the ministers concerned replied to the queries of legislators regarding their departments, including Social Welfare and Baitul Maal, Population Welfare and the Information and Culture departments.
Talking about an adjournment motion, Mehmoodur Rasheed once again raised the issue of discrimination with opposition members in development funds of total Rs 180 million that had been released only to treasury benches for different schemes in their constituencies.
On this, the law minister offered the opposition leader that he should hold a meeting with the chief minister and inform him about their development projects or schemes over a cup of tea, and he was assured that the government would fully cooperate with them in this regard.
The opposition leader refused to accept the offer, saying that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should come to the House and must listen to their problems on the floor. He said that an offer to hold a meeting with the chief minister for the rights of the opposition members was an insult of their mandate, as they all were elected representatives.
Pertinent to mention here is that when the opposition leader was opposing the offer, a treasury member of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) from Sheikhupura – Arif Sandhela – told the House that it was strange for him that how the opposition leader was refusing to hold a meeting with the CM for funds, while he had “begged” Shahbaz Sharif in London secretly for the same purpose. Interestingly, when the treasury member highlight the London meeting of the opposition leader with the CM, the opposition leader sat down on his seat silently and did not reply to a single word on the matter.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah laid two separate bills in the assembly, including the Punjab Development of Cities (Amendment) Ordinance 2014, and the Lahore Garrison University Bill 2014.
According to the first bill, an imprisonment for a term of seven years and fine of Rs 5,000,000 has been proposed for any person on the offence of discharging any dangerous chemical in any drain, sewer or public land.
The government laid the second bill for giving accreditation to the Lahore Garrison University administrated by the Pak Army in the Cantonment area of the city. The university is being established with two already existing postgraduate campuses at Sarfraz Rafique Road and Walton Road, having complete building infrastructure.
The Defence Housing Authority (DHA) has reportedly allotted 74 kanals of land in Phase-VI for this university for establishment of its campus. The university is offering different disciplines, including mathematics, chemistry, physics, psychology, English language and information technology.
Later, the speaker adjourned the session till Monday at 3am.
It is pertinent to mention here that a group of traders of Ferozepur Road and some families from Sahiwal city held separate protest demonstrations in front of the Punjab Assembly building – against the construction of a flyover in the area and against the former member of National Assembly from PML-Q Rana Tariq Javed on a murder issue, respectively. They shouted slogans against the government policies and the poor situation of law and order.
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