LAHORE: In what appeared to be a unique incident in parliamentary history of the province, an opposition member levelled allegations of land grabbing against the deputy speaker, who was chairing the session on Thursday. Deputy Speaker Sher Ali Gorchani also came in public to settle the score with his opponent Sardar Ali Raza Dareshak. Dreshak, a PTI member returned from PP-247, Rajanpur – a constituency adjacent to PP-248 from where Gorchani has returned – wanted to table an adjournment motion out of turn against Gorchani, accusing him of land-grabbing in the area but he (Gorchani) did not allow him, saying he would not permit tabling a resolution against the chair.On this, all of the opposition members started chanting slogans. They tore apart the agenda items and threw the torn copies towards the chair. Anyhow, the chair did not bother and continued conducting the business as per agenda.
Interestingly, when the house was enacting bills, opposition members invented a novel tactic to get the proceedings halted as they started singing national anthem by standing close to the speaker’s dais, appealing him to stand up in respect of the anthem.
The assembly passed all of three bills on the agenda, including the Punjab Livestock Breeding Bill, 2014, the Punjab Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2014, and the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline & Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2014.
Due to continuing protest, opposition did not move any amendment to the bills. Later, the acting speaker adjourned the house till 9am on Friday (today).
After the assembly session, Dreshak distributed copies of his adjournment motion among the press corps and said that Gorchani and his colleagues were involved in land-grabbing in Dera Ghazi Khan’s Puran Dera and Haji Ghazi Sharqi areas with the assistance of police. He said that tenants who were cultivating such lands since last 30 years had been dispossessed, he added. He also urged the chief minister to intervene in the matter. He also claimed that he could provide proof of his allegations. Opposition Leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed and other members were also present there.
Soon after Dareshak’s press talk, Gorchani along with Law Minister Rana Sanaullah held a counter media talk in which Gorchani brushed aside all allegations levelled by the opposition member and showed legal documents of the said land measuring around 72 acres.
He said that his younger brother Sher Dil Gorchani was higher bidder in the auction of land belonged to the Auqaf Department, so he was allotted it on lease for one year against Rs 360,000. He said that the department had used the police to retrieve possession of land from illegal occupants. He also distributed some copies of legal documents.
During the question hour, Minister Tanveer Aslam Malik answered queries about housing, urban development and public health engineering departments.
Faiza Malik, of PPP, and Mian Aslam Iqbal, of PTI, highlighted the issue of Ravi View Park Project, which was 36 kilometres long from Wagah to Sundar on both banks of the river. They claimed that the government had acquired the land forcibly from owners. Mian Aslam Iqbal also alleged that some six firms-cum-front men of the government who were also known as ‘Qabza Mafia’ (land grabbers) were involved in acquiring the land.
The minister informed the house that the government had not acquired land as feasibility of the project was yet being prepared. The opposition members alleged that the minister had provided a wrong answer. The minister strongly protested against this attitude of the opposition.
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