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November 21, 2019

PA passes nine billsamid Opposition’s boycott

Lahore

November 21, 2019

LAHORE:Punjab Assembly on Wednesday passed nine bills besides laying an ordinance amid boycott of the opposition.

The opposition in PA staged a boycott in protest against the alleged ‘unconstitutional steps’ of the government which was accused of bulldozing the required legal procedure and passing the bills in complete violation of rules. The opposition alleged that none of the bills was sent to the Standing Committee or any Special Committee and later, its MPA Malik Waris Kallu also announced challenging the legislation done by the government in court.

The PA session, which began with Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in chair, passed nine bill including Punjab Water Bill 2019, Punjab Seized and Freezed Facilities (Hospitals and Dispensaries) Bill 2019, Punjab Regularization of Service (Amendment) Bill 2019, Provincial Employees Social Security (Amendment) Bill 2019, Punjab Khal Panchayat Bill 2019, Punjab Workers Welfare Fund Bill 2019, Punjab Aabe Pak Authority (Amendment) Bill 2019, Punjab Minimum Wages Bill 2019 and Rawalpindi Women University, Rawalpindi Bill 2019.

When the clause by clause reading of the first bill started, opposition MPAs Malik Waris Kallu and Iftikhar Chachar grilled the government for bulldozing the legal process of legislation. They stated that some of the bills being passed by the government pertained to departments whose Standing Committees had no existence. The opposition staged walkout in protest and Malik Waris Kallu, PML-N MPA from Khushab, while talking to the media termed it a ‘black day’ in the history of PA in which so many bills were passed without being referred to the Standing Committee. He said under the Rules of Procedures of the assembly, it is mandatory to refer the bills to Standing Committee or the Special Committee.

Law Minister Raja Basharat, while responding to the criticism of the Opposition over this issue, said that the opposition should avoid misleading the House and doing politics over non issue. Raja Basharat, amid protest of the opposition, also laid the Punjab Local Government (Second Amendment) Ordinance 2019. Earlier, while speaking on the floor of the House after the speech of opposition leader Hamza Shahbaz Sharif, the law minister said that the facilities provided to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in hospitals here were termed satisfactory by himself.

Citing a remark of the opposition leader in which he had stated that ‘one has to die to prove his disease’ said that those who remained in power should have set up hospitals where patients could be treated well. He said those who spent time in power should have made hospitals where disease of the patient could be diagnosed.

Raja Basharat on the occasion also referred to a trauma centre which remained non functional for 10 years, adding ‘they should have thought about common people while they were in power.’

Moreover, the PA held question hour session related to the Prisons Department. Members of the House across the divide agreed to set up telephone booths in Punjab prisons. Khawaja Salman Rafique, PML-N MPA, who attended the PA session after the issuance of Production Order highlighted the issue related to the problems faced by the prisoners and their relatives while contacting each other. He said there was a need to set up telephone booths in prisons where people have to remain in queue for hours to make a telephone call.

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