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Lahore

May 20, 2016

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Sit-ins hinder progress, Sana tells PA

Dismisses farmers protest; flays Opposition for inciting protesters

LAHORE

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday in Punjab Assembly dismissed a protest demonstration staged by Kissan Ittehad in the city and said the curse of dharna had plagued the country’s journey to progress.

The Law Minister addressing the Leader of the Opposition PTI MPA Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed criticised the opposition party for stirring up unnecessary and encouraging protesters to continue with their demonstration. Speaking in the House on Thursday after the Opposition Leader raised a point of order requesting his adjournment motion on the protests to be tabled, the law minister questioned Mehmood-ur-Rasheed’s knowledge of the protesters demands and said the culture of container politics had led to a sense of lawlessness in the country.

The Opposition Leader’s adjournment motion which was tabled in the House had requested the Punjab government to comply with their demands to reduce electricity to Rs5 per unit and give further subsidy on fertilizer prices. Sanaullah said both these issues were under the scope of the federal government and that the prime minister had already met members of Kissan Ittehad and the matter would be resolved soon. Regarding the protest staged by Punjab Rural Support Programme (PRSP) employees, Sanaullah said their issue had been resolved but they were insistent that the notification of their regularisation be immediately issued which was not possible in this short time-frame.

The Opposition Leader in his speech remarked that thousands of protesters were suffering in the heat without any representative in the government engaging them in a dialogue and police using extra-handed force. Soon after making his critical remarks, the reply speech by Sanaullah was subjected to anti-government slogans from members of the opposition bench. It was decided thereafter that a general discussion on the problems faced by farmers in the province would be scheduled for the upcoming Monday session. Nevertheless, the Opposition staged a walkout later in the session over the same issue. Meanwhile, PPP MPA Faiza Ahmed Malik tabled her adjournment motion regarding the cruel treatment of Anjuman-e-Mazareen Punjab farmers in Okara by the police over their protest for ownership rights to the land tilled by them for generations. Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the answer was yet to come and the motion was thus ruled pending.

A delegation of top position-holder students from universities in Balochistan along with their vice-chancellors were also welcomed in the House by Provincial Education Minister Rana Mashhood, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Opposition Leader Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, and JI MPA Dr Syed Waseem Akhter. All the members extended a gesture of goodwill on behalf of Punjab and welcomed initiatives for inter-provincial student exchange as to improve understanding and bonds between both provinces. Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Malik Baloch also arrived in Lahore on Thursday as part of the students delegation. In another case of humiliation, question hour on Thursday on Communication and Works Department Punjab was ruled pending as both the ministers Tanveer Aslam Malik and the Parliamentary Secretary Naeem Akhter were not present in the House. Quorum also became an issue again as the general discussion on the annual report of the Parks and Horticulture Authority, Lahore for the year 2013-14 could not take place as the House failed to reach the required number of members present for a session. Earlier, several point of orders were made by opposition members, including PPP MPA Shahabuddin, PTI MPAs Asif Mahmood, and Arif Abbasi to replace the discussion on PHA with a discussion on good governance after grand claims were made by the chief minister in the House on the previous day.

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