Wednesday May 22, 2024

Damage to Punjab Assembly equipment: Unruly MPAs to be made to compensate losses: speaker

By Moayyed Jafri
October 24, 2018

LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has said a committee has been constituted to assess the losses caused to the equipment in the house including furniture, microphones and recording equipment by unruly PML-N MPAs, and the guilty will be made to compensate the losses after investigation.

Talking to the media outside the assembly, he said no act over and above the Constitution and the law could be tolerated inside the house. He said maintaining prestige of the House is the responsibility of the speaker.

He said no opposition leader in the past ever used such filthy language against the speaker which the incumbent opposition leader is using. He neither thinks nor understands. The use of such low words against the speaker and members is because of deficiency of their training.

During the opposition's own tenure, their own speaker had suspended membership of the PTI members four times, whereas the PTI members had never used filthy words against the speaker nor indulged in hooliganism.

Ch Pervaiz Elahi said that the number of members who indulged in hooliganism in the house was higher; however, action had been taken against six so far.

In reply to another question, he said that cases against Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif had been registered by NAB and not by Imran Khan, chief minister and the speaker. The action which NAB has taken against them has no link with the Punjab Assembly nor the government ministers. Meanwhile, Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Fayyazul Hassan Chohan urged the legislators to maintain honour and decorum of the parliament, for which they are bound legally and constitutionally.

Talking to reporters outside the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday, the minister deplored that the PML-N legislators were not attending the session for the last four days but marking their attendance just to claim the allowances. The opposition MPAs, he added, just wanted to claim allowances and other financial benefits but were not fulfilling their constitutional responsibility.

Commenting on the recent contacts made by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) head Maulana Fazlur Rehman with the opposition leaders, including Asif Zardari, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Hamza Shahbaz, Chohan observed that Maulana had always exploited the 1973 Constitution to hide his corruption and nepotism.

Rebutting the opposition’s charge of victimisation, the minister said that only those politicians who had been involved in rampant corruption, money-laundering and misuse of authority were crying. Otherwise, he said, the judiciary, and the anti-corruption agencies were acting independently. “Whenever the law tightens noose around these corrupt politicians, they get united in a bid to protect the looted money.

But I want to make it clear that the ongoing accountability process will continue what may come because the people of Pakistan have given a mandate to Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar for accountability,” he maintained. “We have to recover the looted amount and deposit it back into the national exchequer”, he added.

On the other hand, Punjab Assembly opposition leader and PML-N central leader Hamza Shahbaz, after sharing a video proof of wrongful suspension of oppost about MPAs, has demanded that PA Speaker Pervaiz Elahi should apologise to the nation for lying and intentionally misleading them to serve his partisan political motives.

Addressing the media outside the Punjab Assembly, he shared footage of the Punjab Assembly House budget day after the opposition protest had ended which showed that there was no wrecking of tables or microphones.

The footage showed that the amount of shredded papers too was less than that in the photograph issued by the Punjab Assembly Secretariat. The act of defaming the honourable members of the parliament is an act that merits strongest condemnation. The PML-N would not participate in the session unless this suspension is overturned and those responsible for this nefarious propaganda campaign are taken to task, he said.

“Footage shows actual position of Punjab Assembly after members had left. The picture shows how the property inside the house was damaged after members had left. This exposes the true face of the Speaker who is supposed to be a non-partisan custodian of the house. The PTI should be warned that Pervaiz Elahi is the person who betrayed PML-N when he was part of the party, he betrayed Pervez Musharraf and now he is busy plotting a massive betrayal against them because that is who he is,” he said.

Opposition leader said that the PML-N would play the role of a responsible and strong opposition which is why they wanted to have a constructive debate on the “terrible” budget presented by the government. However, the Speaker and PTI found a way to hinder this democratic process by inventing forged pictures and false allegations.

“The so-called advocates of southern Punjab have slashed the budget of Southern Punjab by three-fourth while increasing the budget of the Chief Minister House by 20 percent. The agriculture sector had been crushed by withdrawing subsidies from all agri-inputs which has left the farmers helpless in the face of inflation. This budget is a disaster for Punjab and consequently for the entire country as Punjab is the bread-basket of Pakistan,” Hamza said.

Answering a question regarding likelihood of a Nawaz-Zardari meeting in the light of the developing political situation, he said the way PTI government is hurting the interests of Pakistan and Pakistanis with every single one of their steps, it is inevitable that the opposition parties would come together on this agenda of safeguarding national interest.