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December 6, 2018

Opp furious after MPA not allowed to speak


December 6, 2018

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MPAs on Wednesday protested strongly against ‘dictatorial’ behaviour of Deputy Speaker Punjab Assembly Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari and ‘wrong’ information provided to the House by the Higher Education minister.

When the Deputy Speaker failed to put the House in order and stop the Opposition from lodging protest against his attitude, two senior ministers including Law Minister Raja Basharat and most experienced figure of the House, Saeed Niwani, intervened to diffuse the tension.

The PA session once again started late with more than one and half hour of its scheduled time. The Deputy Speaker, who had to chair the session in the absence of Ch Pervaiz Elahi, himself reached the Punjab Assembly at 12:36pm. The session began immediately after he reached the PA.

“Are you Speaker or pharaoh, your attitude is dictatorial”, these were the remarks of PML-N MPA Pir Ashraf Rasool who wasn’t allowed to speak on a point of order immediately after the beginning of the PA session. When the session started, Pir Ashraf Rasool from Sheikhupura requested to allow him speak on point of order but the chair immediately refused to give him floor on which the former insisted that he must be given sometime to express his views. However, when the chair didn’t allow him, the furious PML-N legislator started criticising the Deputy Speaker on which the chair replied, ‘Don’t dictate me.’

When the PML-N MPA wasn’t allowed to speak, he used the term ‘pharaoh’ for the Deputy Speaker on which the chair warned him and ordered for expunging the remarks from the proceedings. After this incident, the question hour session began but in the same session, the chair invited trouble for him and rest of the treasury benches when he refused to accept the request of ‘pending’ a question, whose answer, according to the PML-N MPA wasn’t right.

The situation got tense when PML-N MPA from Faisalabad Mian Tahir expressed dissatisfaction over the answer provided to the House by the Higher Education Department regarding the existing of colony in Government College University, Jhang Road, Faisalabad. The minister concerned while reading the answer provided to him straight away ruled out existence of any residential colony in Faisalabad.

While receiving this answer, Mian Tahir came hard on the PTI government for constantly misleading the House through false information. He said not only a colony existed in the said university but there also been irregularities in the issues related to it on which the minister stated ‘whatever happened there wasn’t done in last three months.’

While responding to this answer, the PML-N MPA asked the government to avoid showing helplessness now as it had been over 100 days now since it had come to power. He said if something wrong had been done, action should initiate but it wouldn’t exempt the government from fulfilling its responsibilities.

The PML-N MPA requested the chair to make the question pending which he refused to do and instructed the minister to visit the said University campus to have an exact idea of the prevailing situation. The minister agreed but the PML-N member insisted that wrong information had been provided to the House which was an insult of the Punjab Assembly and warned he would come up with privilege motion over the issue. On these remarks, the chair said ‘okay, come up with it’ (privilege motion).

After these remarks, the PML-N MPAs stood up on their seats and started criticising the chair while terming his behaviour as ‘dictatorial.’

“You are behaving like a headmaster, we cannot accept this dictatorial behaviour,” said another PML-N MPA whose views were seconded by rest of the Opposition. Azma Bokhari, Malik Waheed and other MPAs of Opposition also started criticising the chair. Saeed Niwani, the ruling party member from Bhakkar and returned to PA for 8th term while speaking on the point of order said it was the duty of Speaker to ‘accept the challenge of the legislator’ who feels that the answer provided to him was unsatisfactory. He said the chair must make the said question ‘pending’ being the ‘Custodian of the House’ and under the rules, action could be taken over wrong answer.

Seconding his views, Raja Basharat, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, also said it was the duty of the government to respond to the queries of legislators. He said that it was mandatory on all the members of the House to set a good precedent in this assembly which had come into existence not very long ago.

“We must set good precedents, every members of the House deserves respect,” the law minister said. He requested the chair to direct the minister concerned to visit the said university and brief the House about the details on which the chair remarked that he had been directed. The question was disposed of.

Uniform syllabus in Punjab by March 2020: Minister for Schools Education Punjab Dr Murad Raas on Wednesday told the Punjab Assembly that plan was under way to introduce uniform curriculum in Punjab schools and madrassas. While responding to supplementary question by PML-N’s Malik Mohammed Ahmed, the minister stated the government felt that it was necessary to have a uniform curriculum. He added that so far there had been no policy to introduce the uniform curriculum in schools and madrassas but the government was working on the plan. For this purpose, he said all the stakeholders including private school owners and Ulema heading the seminaries would be included in the consultation process.

Muavia Azam Tariq, Parliamentary leader of Rah-e-Haq Party, during the question hour session demanded funding for University of Jhang, district Jhang. He also asked why the said institution had not been functional so far on which he was told by Minister Raja Yasir Humayon that process was under way in this regard. He was told that still around Rs 5 billion were needed for the construction of the University building and in the next fiscal year, further allocation would be made for it.

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