LAHORE: Governor Latif Khosa has urged Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to take personal interest in the Punjab Assembly business to improve the quality of its business before it is too late.
“Dear Chief Minister, you would appreciate that this agonizing situation needs to be remedied before it is too late, and I do hope that you will start taking personal interest in the matters relating to the Punjab Assembly with a view to improving the quality of its proceedings and reviving its past glory,” said the governor in a letter addressed to the CM over recent happenings in the assembly.
Expressing regret at the recent incidents in the PA, including shoe hurling incident, use of objectionable, unparliamentarily and filthy language against women members, Khosa said in the letter that the incidents were a reflection of the Punjab government’s aggressive, anti-democratic and anti-people polices.
The governor, criticising the Speaker Punjab Assembly for being a ‘partisan,’ stated that it was pity to note complete lack of decency, partisan attitude of the Speaker, bulldozing of the Opposition agenda, and lately, exchange of invectives, shoe-hurling and free-for-all wrestling had become the shameful hallmarks of the present PA and these factors had rendered its proceedings nothing more than a waste of time and money of the tax-payers.
He further wrote that it was evident to everyone, the pandemonium was triggered by the use of un-parliamentary and derogatory language coupled with obscene gesticulation by some irresponsible members led by a band of ‘turncoats’ (PML-Q defectors) now sitting on the Treasury benches despite having won election on the tickets of a party sitting on the Opposition benches. There was every reason to believe that the said members created a rumpus at the behest of their masters with the honourable lady members from the Opposition parties being the specific target of their ribaldry, he wrote.
“Certainly, I am not alone in thinking that this sorry state of affairs in a House, having a rich history of dignified mannerism and meaningful activity, is attributable, inter alia, to near absence of the Leader of the House from the scene during its important sessions and routine sittings alike,” said the governor while drawing the attention of the CM towards the disorder in assembly in its 38th session concluded recently. He said apart from repulsive scenes of indiscipline, the proceedings, relating to the all-important budget, were only a mockery of an otherwise serious legislative exercise.
After having intentionally embarrassed the Opposition into walking out, the Treasury stole the opportunity to rush through demands for grants without any debate thereon, the governor said. Moreover, he added, even a cursory glance at the fiscal allocations revealed that they did not cater to the much-hyped power sector and the funds reserved for the purpose were in no way commensurate with the requirements of the province; and how could that happen when the finance ministers were successively changed obviously with no input of any political oversight, leaving the entire exercise at the mercy of the bureaucracy.
Khosa advised the CM that the first thing to do in this regard was taming and schooling of the Treasury hawks, some of whom appeared to be more loyal to the king than the king himself. They undoubtedly needed to be taught how to respond to criticism, negative or positive, from the Opposition benches, he stated.
It needed no explanation that the Opposition was a vital pillar of democracy, and diversity was the beauty that brings the best solution to every problem, Khosa said. He further wrote that it also went without saying that excellence in performance could be achieved only through collective wisdom and pluralism since good governance was not conceivable without input of every member in the House. He also warned the CM that the aggressiveness shown in the House would further encourage and ignite radicalism in the province which was already afflicted with the menace.