LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly (PA) on Monday passed demands for grants worth Rs 1,053.711583 billion with a majority while Law Minister Rana Mashhood informed the House that his predecessor Rana Sanaullah was not involved in the Model Town incident in any manner and that he (Sanaullah) had resigned only in order to present himself before the judicial commission as a common man.
Though Opposition Leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed rejected the statement made by the successor of Rana Sanaullah about the involvement as well as resignation of the latter and said that the chief minister and the former law minister could have stopped killings had they intervened in the matter in time.
The provincial government seems to have been overpowered by fears of Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri’s scheduled procession in front of the PA building on The Mall at 4pm today (Tuesday) as dozens of shipping containers have been parked on adjacent roads, including Victoria Road, and in front of MPAs’ Hostel for the first time in the history of Lahore. Due to parking of these gigantic vehicles, MPAs also faced problems in reaching the assembly on Monday.
Interestingly, the assembly session has also been called on Tuesday, but an hour early than the routine time of 9am in order to complete the agenda of passing the Finance Bill, 2014, before Qadri’s protest starts.
The PA session on Monday started an hour and 25 minutes late to its scheduled time of 3pm with Speaker Rana Iqbal Khan in the chair.
Members of the opposition tabled cut motions on demands of grants for education, health and agriculture departments that were rejected by the House.
Later, the Guillotine (a provision in the rules which requires that the House must reach a decision on a given matter by a particular date or at the end of a specified period of time) applied and all of the 43 demands for grants were passed.
Earlier, Law Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan joined the House for the first time after assuming additional charge of the portfolio and treasury members welcomed him by thumping their desks.
Delivering his maiden speech, Mashhood said that he wanted ensuring the House that he would fulfill his responsibilities lawfully and that he would also cooperate with the opposition.
Mashhood said that Sanaullah was not involved in the Model Town incident in any manner and that he (Sanaullah) had resigned just in order to appear before the judicial commission as a common man and that this was a sacrifice Sanaullah had made for strengthening democracy. He also ensured that the persons held responsible for the Model Town incident would be punished.
On a point of order, Rasheed said that this was not a time for thumping desks as over a dozen of innocent people had been killed by the police at Minhajul Quran Secretariat and that it was rather a point of shame for the government.
Rasheed also demanded Speaker Iqbal to take up his resolution against PEMRA’s recent decision to ban ARY News channel but the speaker refused, offering the opposition leader to get the matter settled in his chambers on Tuesday.
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