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March 8, 2018

Quorum again mars PA proceedings


March 8, 2018

LAHORE: Lack of quorum again marred the proceedings of Punjab Assembly on Wednesday as the government failed to maintain the presence of members for the third consecutive day, forcing the speaker to adjourn the proceedings for Friday morning without taking up any official business.

Before adjourning the proceedings, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal kept the House in wait for over two hours for the government to bring back the absentee members, but the government failed in bringing even its own members into the House. The lack of interest on the part of government to run the assembly business could be judged from the fact that only one parliamentary Secretary, Ilyas Ansari of Social welfare Department, was present in the House to reply to the queries of the members. While the ministers and parliamentary secretaries of the remaining two departments, Special Education and Population Welfare, and Public Prosecution, scheduled to give replies regarding their departments in question-hour, were absent.

On a point of order soon after the question hour, PTI’s Nabila Hakim Ali demanded the chair direct the government for convening a special session of Punjab Assembly to discuss the situation of equal rights to women in Pakistan and women empowerment, in connection with the International Women’s Day which was also being observed in the country like the rest of the world. She said the womenfolk of the country, especially the female workforce and those working for ensuring the equal rights and empowerment of women in the country should be praised for their courage, valour and sacrifices by the House since it was only because of these women that womenfolk was witnessing the somewhat realisation of the rights of the fair sex in the country.

However, the speaker said she should have moved the department concerned of the government for the purpose. Interestingly, a male member of PTI, Asif Mehmood, said there should have been a world day for the recognition of the services of married men since this is the class of the people which had been toiling and suffering for the provision of livelihood to their families and children. He said the services of married men were known to all sundry, and their role in the development of their homes, societies and countries had been commendable. He said the world had fixed observing international days for a number of sections of the society, but unfortunately married men had been ignored in this regard. However, the speaker said the matter was irrelevant to the assembly business and not under the ambit of the House.

In the meantime, PPP’s Faiza Malik indicated that the House was not in quorum. The speaker ordered ringing of the bells for several times, extending the wait to over two hours before he finally decided to adjourn the proceedings for Friday (tomorrow).

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