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January 10, 2019

Sikhs be exempted from wearing helmets: lawmaker


January 10, 2019

LAHORE: Sikh MPA Mahinder Pall Singh Wednesday sought exemption for Sikhs from wearing helmets while riding bikes, claiming turban saves them from head injury in case of an accident.

Speaking on a point of order during the Punjab Assembly session, Mahinder Pall Singh referred KP Assembly legislation on exempting Sikhs from wearing helmet while riding bike and demanded the same legislation in Punjab Assembly.

Sikhs all over the world are exempted from wearing helmets as turban they used save them from head injuries in an accident. It takes 15 to 30 minutes to wear a turban while turban of Sikhs is much different from Emmama, a turban, used by Muslims, the lawmaker claimed. Referring to a recent incident in Islamabad where a filling station refused to sell petrol to a Sikh for not wearing helmet as the government had passed orders that petrol would not be sold to the bikers without helmets, he said the pump staff refused to sell the fuel and misbehaved with the Sikh. “The incident caused heart burning for the Sikh community,” he said. He demanded a stern action against the petrol pump staff. He also demanded orders be issued to traffic wardens to exempt Sikhs wearing turbans from helmets as these could not be used along with turbans.

Responding to the point of order, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid rejected the demand, saying strict implementation on helmets by the bikers resulted in 30 per cent decline in head injuries in accidents. Helmets save bikers from life threatening injuries and life saving is top priority in any religion, she remarked. She believed life of a biker was precious. She said Sikhs in India wear helmets. On Dr Yasmin Rashid response, Mahinder Singh said those used turbans in India were exempted from wearing helmets while riding a bike. “Only those Sikhs wear helmets in India who got haircut as wearing a turban took 15 to 30 minutes to handle and fix hair in it,” he said. He said in developed countries Sikhs wearing turbans are exempted from wearing helmets while riding a bike. Punjab Assembly Opposition MPAs, including Syed Hassan Murtaza, Malik Nadim Kamran and Malik Ahmed submitted a resolution against Information Minister.

Meanwhile, Punjab Occupational Safety and Health Bill 2019 was introduced in Punjab Assembly on Wednesday. The bill was introduced by Law Minister Basharat Raja and it is aimed at the safety of workers, employees. In the PA session which was chaired by Mian Shafi Muhammad on the demand of Opposition the bill was made pending. The Punjab Assembly also discussed the tussle between Law Minister Raja Basharat and MS Benazir Shaheed Hospital, Rawalpindi, Dr Tariq Niazi over the issue of posting of Dr Areeba Abbasi. Dr Areeba Abbasi is the daughter of former PML-N MNA Hanif Abbasi.

The matter caught attention when an audio call was viral on social media. After that telephonic conversation between MS Dr Niazi and the law minister came to surface and caught headlines, Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered constituting a committee to probe facts.

This issue came under discussion in PA and Dr Yasmin Rashid, Health Minister, told the House that inquiry had been initiated against the MS for leaking his telephonic conversation with the minister. Waris Kallu, Hassan Murtaza and other members also inquired as to why, action had not been initiated against the doctor for leaking this telephonic talk as it had breached the privilege of the House. Dr Yasmin Rashid also told the House that Dr Areeba resigned herself and nobody forced her to resign. Azma Bokhari of PML-N while criticising the government over poor performance of the Health Department stated that if the Health Minister had faced

troubles in her professional career, she should not let other doctors face any problem.

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