Friday September 29, 2023

PA Speaker angry over food minister’s absence

June 10, 2020

LAHORE:Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi Tuesday expressed displeasure over the absence of Food Minister Abdul Aleem Khan during the question-hour session.

The Speaker suspended all the questions related to the Food Department and directed the minister concerned to come to the House and respond to the queries related to his ministry. The PA session began with a delay of nearly one and a half hour with Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi in chair.

The House offered Fateha for the mothers of Provincial Minister Raja Rashid Hafeez and MPA Bilal Asgher. During the question-hour session which was related to the Food Ministry, Parliamentary Secretary Rai Zahoor Ahmed responded to the queries of legislators. It was revealed that a hazardous chemical was also used to ripen the fruits artificially.

However, the Speaker while taking notice of the absence of Abdul Aleem Khan, asked the parliamentary secretary as to why he wasn't present during the question-hour related to his ministry on which the chair was told that minister was in Islamabad. Expressing dissatisfaction over this answer, the Speaker remarked “What should we do if he is Islamabad, the assembly has been in session for many days”. He asked the parliamentary secretary concerned to come to the House with complete preparation.

Later, the Speaker issued instructions to the Food Minister to answer queries related to his department and suspended all the questions. The PML-N staged a token walkout over the detention of Opposition leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz.

Before staging the walkout, Rana Mashhood of the PML-N in his speech on the floor of the House stated that one year of Hamza's detention would be completed on 12th June. He said in this entire one year, the government had not been able to file a reference against him. He said the historic struggle of Hamza Shahbaz would be written in golden words.

After the PML-N staged the walkout, Law Minister Raja Basharat on a point of explanation grilled the Opposition and stated that Hamza Shahbaz's arrest wasn’t a result of some Executive Order but it had been done on court's ruling. He said when Nawaz Sharif was termed absconder, Opposition started chanting slogans against the government. He said the government had no link with the arrest of Hamza Shahbaz.

Our correspondent adds: Punjab Assembly on Tuesday unanimously passed the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board Bill 2020. The Bill was moved by PML-Q's Khadeeja Umer and according to it, no Islamic content could be published in the books of Islamiat, Pakistan Studies, History, Urdu Literature and other subjects until it is approved by the Muttehida Ulema Board. Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board would have to seek approval of Ulema Board before publishing the content related to Islam. The Bill stated that all laws shall be brought in conformity with the injunctions of Islam. Muttehida Ulema Board Punjab was set up to purge Pakistan of the menace of terrorism and extremism.

The Board was mandated to recommend ban on books which contain objectionable material. It would be advisable to adopt proactive approach and to get prior approval of the Board instead of getting its recommendation afterwards.

Murad Raas, Punjab Minister for School Education while speaking on the floor of the House, said there had been incidents related to the publishing of objectionable books by Punjab Textbook Board over which action had been taken against the persons responsible for it.

He said that 30 committees had been set up to probe the matter whereas control room had also been set up in this regard. He told that Punjab Textbook Board doesn't deal with the reference books as it was a subject related to Law and Home Ministries. Responding to this, the Speaker stated that this matter had not been highlighted without any research adding proper investigation had been done over the issue of this objectionable material.

This is noteworthy that in the ongoing session, the Speaker through a directive had banned three books that carry objectionable content against Sahaba Karam (RA). After this, the Punjab Assembly has passed the Curriculum Bill under which it was mandatory on Punjab Textbook Board to seek approval from Muttahida Ulema Board to publish any material related to Islam.