LAHORE: Treasury members of the Punjab Assembly (PA) on Wednesday tactfully foiled the move of the opposition to table a resolution against Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for terming Pakistan a ‘terrorist country’.
Opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed wanted to table the resolution out-of-turn because it was not on the agenda of the house. But, Speaker Rana Iqbal did not allow him to table it following assessing the mood of the house and protest of the treasury benches.
Speaking on a point of order, Rasheed said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had given good gestures during his Indian visit but that his Indian counterpart gave him a show-cause notice by alleging Pakistan as a terrorist country. This response of the Indian prime minister, he said, was “condemnable.” He said that he wanted to move a resolution to condemn the attitude displayed and words used by the Indian prime minister. However, treasury benches opposed the demand of the opposition leader.
Though Rasheed ensured the house that he was not going against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the treasury seemed in no mood to give any relaxation to the PTI-backed opposition leader and they continued booing while displaying some placards against the PTI and PTI Chairman Imran Khan in order to tease the tiny opposition.
When the opposition members recognised that they had not succeeded in their effort to table the resolution, they started their routine protest in front of the speaker’s desk, chanting slogans like ‘War will continue till freedom of Kashmir’, ‘Indian domination –
Unacceptable’ and ‘Friends of Modi are traitors’.
During the protest of the opposition, the house adopted an out-of-turn resolution tabled by a minority member Ramesh Singh Arora to celebrate Baba Guru Nanak’s birthday at official level and to declare a public holiday to mark the birth anniversary every year.
The house also passed another out-of-turn resolution to appreciate the efforts of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in making Pakistan a nuclear power in 1998. The house did not take interest in carrying out scheduled general discussion on education on which the speaker prorogued the session for indefinite period.
The assembly completed its 100 days of first parliamentary year from June 1, 2013. During this period, eight sessions of the house were held during which 31 bills and 46 resolutions were passed.
Interestingly, as many as 78 members of the treasury benches did not participate in any proceedings during these eight sessions while 43 members only spoke for once. Chief Minister Shahbaz attended the house only 10 times despite several requests from the opposition in this connection.
The Wednesday’s session started one hour and seven minutes late to its scheduled time of 10am. Minister Iqbal Channar replied queries pertaining to the cooperatives department during the question hour.
In reply to a question, Channar said that the government was heading towards implementing Islamic laws and was going to introduce interest-free banking system following a court decision. To a question about recovery of loans of cooperatives bank, the minister said that the bank would waive interest if the defaulters would pay the principal amount. He said that the bank had reduced its mark-up ratio from 16 to 20 percent to 15 or 16 percent. He ensured the house that every kind of loan could be taken from the cooperatives bank at 16 percent mark-up now.
An ‘inaccurate’ answer perhaps annoyed PML-Q member Amir Sultan Cheema, who expressed his outburst in a high-pitch slogan, “Allah Karay Ye Assembly Toot Jai [May God, this assembly gets dissolved].” He repeated the slogan thrice to give vent to his disgruntlement.
Even after the house was prorogued, the opposition members continued their protest outside the house. Some of them were chanting slogans against the government while occupying the stairs of the assembly chamber. Meanwhile, two female members of the treasury named Salma Butt and Farzana Butt came in aggression and Salma slapped an opposition member named Main Asif while Farzana started pushing Opposition Leader Rasheed.
Later, the Butt duo left the place immediately when some of the female legislators from the opposition also ‘approached’ them.
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