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February 27, 2019

Ministers continue to avoid PA

Lahore

February 27, 2019

LAHORE : At one hand where a race is continued amongst Punjab cabinet members for the slot of Senior Minister, some of them are also inviting serious embarrassment for government by showing no interest in the process of legislation.

And this became obvious once again on Tuesday, the Private Members Day in which the House could pass only one resolution and the rest were made pending due to the absence of the ministers concerned.

Out of the 13 resolutions that were to be discussed on the Private Members Day, only one was taken and passed unanimously by the House.One resolution related to the Ministry of Communication of Works couldn’t be taken up because the mover (MPA Ali Akhter) was absent, though the minister concerned Asif Nakai was present.

The resolutions related to Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid, Education Minister Dr Murad Raas, Industry Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal, Agriculture Minister Malik Nauman Langrial, Energy Minister Dr Akhter Malik, Environment Minister Bau Rizwan and Transport Minister Aurangzeb Khichi couldn’t be taken up as they were absent.

The only resolution that was taken up and passed by the House was moved by Hina Pervaiz Butt of PML-N and was related to action against drug mafia operating in campuses. The resolution was related to the Ministry of Basharat Raja who showed no objection to it and it was passed unanimously by the House.

“It seems a pending day, rather than the Private Members Day” remarked Deputy Speaker Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari who was chairing the session at a time when the House took resolutions for public interest.

“This is no way, we will consider all options and even discuss the deduction of the salary of the ministers who observe absence” said the Deputy Speaker while expressing serious anger over the absence of number of Punjab cabinet members who showed no interest towards the process of legislation.

Syed Hassan Murtaza, the PPP Parliamentary leader while voicing serious concern over the non-serious attitude of the Punjab ministers also requested the chair to adjourn the Private Members Day. However, Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari remarked that once chance should be given to them.

“Strict standards should be set, nothing is more superior to the proceedings of this House” said Law Minister Raja Basharat while expressing serious dismay over the ministers’ absence. ‘The salary of all such ministers should be given to Raja Basharat’ said Malik Arshed, the PML-N legislator while praising Law Minister Basharat Raja for his responsible behaviour in the House. Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, Punjab Minister for Prosecution, also demanded the chair take strict action against ministers who observe absence from the House, particularly on Private Members Day.

Shamana Bashir, a ruling party MPA strongly protested the absence of minister concerned (Dr Murad Raas) from the House and stated that her resolution demanding the inclusion of Allama Iqbal’s poetry in the curriculum had been made pending for third time.

“Is that something more complicated than the Kashmir issue that it is not being debated here” she said. Shamana is one of the senior most female activists of PTI who has been associated to the party since 1999.

This is noteworthy that in the ongoing 7th session of Punjab Assembly, the House has faced adjournments on multiple occasions before the completion of agenda due to lack of quorum. Some of the ministers were even criticised by the PTI MPAs for showing no interest towards House business and remaining confined to their chambers and holding meetings with friends and visitors.

This clearly indicates that the chief minister lacks grip over his ministers, said an MPA after the session was adjourned on Tuesday. Besides, after the resignation of Abdul Aleem Khan, some of the members of Usman Buzdar cabinet are also busy in lobbying for the slot of Senior Minister but towards the process of legislation, their lack of interest is embarrassing the party.

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