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March 9, 2019

Heated debate in PA over LWMC ‘corruption’


March 9, 2019

LAHORE : The Punjab Assembly witnessed a tense situation on Friday when two senior members of the House exchanged harsh arguments and almost had a scuffle over alleged corruption in the Lahore Waste Management Company.

Senior Opposition member Malik Mohammed Ahmed and Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal indulged in serious verbal clash when the latter alleged PML-N leadership’s direct role in massive irregularities in LWMC, particularly in the process of awarding contract. The PA session started with a delay of around two hours with MPA Mian Mohammed Shafi in the chair, who presided over the proceedings in the absence of Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Deputy Speaker Mir Dost Mohammed Mazari. The House was taking up questions related to the local government whose Minister Mohammed Basharat Raja was responding to queries of legislators when the situation got tense when Mian Aslam Iqbal, the Minister for Industries, in a supplementary question that was posed by Malik Ahmed, the Opposition MPA, held the PML-N leadership responsible for corruption. He said between 2001 to 2008, an amount of Rs 130 million was needed for the cleanliness of Lahore whereas after 2008, when the PML-N government came to power, the expenditure skyrocketed to Rs 13 billion. He alleged that massive corruption had been committed in awarding contracts for the LWMC and not officials, but the PML-N leaders were directly responsible for it.

PML-N MPA Malik Ahmed took offence of the remarks and rejecting the allegations said that instead of going for point scoring, the government should present a factual picture. He said in reality, the PML-N government had awarded the contract at cheapest rates. Malik Ahmed also urged Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal to avoid using objectionable language in the House. The situation was about to take an ugly turn when Punjab Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal left his seat and started moving towards Opposition benches. However, the MPAs from both sides intervened and stopped the angry legislators from moving towards each other. Later, former Speaker Rana Mohammed Iqbal Khan also intervened to diffuse the tension. He said that at a time when the minister concerned was present, no other minister should respond to the questions. PA passes resolution on Women Day

The Punjab Assembly on Friday unanimously passed a resolution acknowledging the role, services of women for Pakistan. The resolution was moved by PML-N MPA Hina Pervaiz Butt. The resolution also stated that no society could prosper without the empowerment of women. Moreover, the PML-N legislator also demanded development funds for women MPAs. Besides, Ashfa Riaz, the woman minister, was not present in the House on International Women Day.

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