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February 9, 2018

PA session adjourned without completing agenda


February 9, 2018

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly session on School Education Department was adjourned without the completion of the agenda after the opposition pointed out the quorum and it was found short.

The session was scheduled to start at 10am but it started with over an hour delay after which the government and opposition members both expressed their displeasure over the absence of minister and secretary of Schools Education Department in a session dedicated to their sector.

JI MPA Dr Syed Waseem Akhtar from opposition Alliance pointed out procedural and policy discrepancies in appointment of female teachers in boys’ schools. He questioned the effects of female teachers on overall environment of the schools. Parliamentary Secretary School Education Joyce Rofin Julius replied to the question and said all due procedures and policies were followed in hiring and the environment is very pleasant because children learn better from female teachers because they have a motherly connection.

The issue of dearth of building capacity and dearth of teachers, especially in non-urban centres was the chief concern of most of the parliamentarians who pleaded that there needs to be a policy that recruits teachers in a way that locals are preferred for a district to avoid migration hesitation and eventual vacant posts and shortage of teaching staff.

Minority MPA Shehzad Munshi, in a privilege motion, brought the high handedness and use of abusive language of Secretary Human Rights and Minority Affairs Shehzad. He requested the speaker to summon and question this unprovoked reprehensible behaviour.

Syed Waseem Akhtar, in a call attention notice, trashed the government’s claim of providing sugarcane farmers the rightful price for their crop. He said that the farmers are forced to sell it at the rate of Rs 60 per mound (40kg) instead of Rs 180 CPR. Dismissing the step of the government as lip service, he staged a token boycott of the assembly, however Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal was able to call him back to at least listen to the answer to his question.

Responding to this, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said he respects the MPA and his concern but he is sure that Waseem Akhtar has been misled or misinformed. Rana Sanaullah said leaders of every sugarcane farmer association, including that of Jamaat-e-Islami, are part of a committee which is ensuring the price control.

If this issue was genuine, why did the JI representative not bring it up in the committee meeting?, he questioned. Rana Sanaullah assured Dr Waseem that there was no such case where the sugarcane was not being sold on the designated sugar price. He invited Waseem Akhter to attend the meeting to be held in the evening (Thursday) and see himself that every mill owner and every farmer association leader would be present there. Waseem Akhter accepted the invitation.

Right at that moment at 1:22pm, Asif Mahmood of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf pointed out the quorum which was found short and the session was adjourned till Friday.

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