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February 10, 2018

PA echoes with NAB chief’s warning


February 10, 2018

LAHORE: Opposition and Treasury benches in Punjab Assembly on Friday traded accusations and made a hue and cry over complaints of the NAB chairman who had said that Punjab government’s departments were not cooperating with the NAB to arrest the corrupt people and recover looted money from them. The rumpus that followed made nothing audible in the House and the Speaker had to adjourn the proceedings till Monday to save the government from further embarrassment.

Leader of the Opposition Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed on a point of order grilled the government for allegedly shielding the corrupt elements. Taking the floor soon after the question hour, he asked the Chair to seek explanations from the government about the allegations of the NAB chairman that bureaucracy of Punjab had been refusing to cooperate with NAB in hauling the corrupt elements and recovering the plundered public wealth.

Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan did not entertain his request and asked him to wait till the law minister came to the House to give the view of government’s side on the request.

This made the opposition leader angry as he asked why the law minisiter was not present in the House to deal with vitally important matters like this. He asked the Chair to proceed in the matter anyway since the issue pertained to the reputation of the government and the entire province of Punjab.

He asked why the House should be run on the whims and wishes of the law minister who did not care to come to the House. He alleged that due to the silence of the government on the matter, the blame was being shifted to the entire House. “We, the elected representatives of the poor people of Punjab, can’t accept to take that stigma on our faces while the government is sleeping on the matter,” he roared. “This august House is not the sole property of law minister so that it should be run on his wishes,” he added.

Many other opposition members jumped into the fray and began levelling accusations against the bureaucracy for trying to cover up the corruption cases by refusing to cooperation with the NAB. PTI’s Asif Mehmood asked the Chair why it was the honest members to face the music while those responsible for the corruption were enjoying immunity. He complained, “Why those who did not complete the homework are going unpunished while those who did their homework are being detained in the school for entire day as punishment.” Some treasury members like Waheed Gul and other also joined to counter the accusations and then it led to free-for-all situation where many members began shouting slogans against the leadership of the other side.There was hullabaloo by the loud sloganeering in the House where nothing was audible for several minutes, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the proceedings.

Earlier, during the question hour regarding the Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education and Special Education departments, opposition’s Dr Nausheen Hamid complained that the government had been giving priority to the metro train and bus over establishing new burn units in public sector hospitals. She was not satisfied with the replies given by Parliamentary Secretary Hassan Riaz who had said that five burn units were functioning in the hospitals in Lahore.

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