The scuffle between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) continued on Thursday in the provincial assembly over the issue of the PPP’s tug of war with a media group with the members levelling allegations at each other.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah categorically announced in the House that the PPP should answer to the allegations levelled against it, adding that no individual could claim himself as the ‘champion of democracy’. The minister said it was not fair that anybody, in his individual capacity, started making claims for the restoration of democracy.
He said all the political forces, the civil society and especially, the media played an important role for the restoration of democracy in the country. “How can one man claim himself to be the champion of democracy,” he asked.
The law minister said the PPP should avoid using the highest forum of the province for its vested interests, adding that this was not about the PPP alone. “None of the political forces should use any institution to save its skin and to hide facts,” he added.
Sanaullah expressed these views on a point of order during the ongoing twentieth session of the Punjab Assembly, chaired by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal. On a point of order, PPP MPA Shaukat Basra drew the attention of the House over the issue of “wrong reporting” by a specific media group. He said the group in its publications claimed the boycott of the press gallery that was not happened.
Basra said it was also reported that the PPP MPA Uzma Bokhari tried to table a resolution against a media group but it was stopped by the law minister. He said the House witnessed that neither boycott nor the word ‘resolution’ was used by any member during Wednesday’s proceedings. The lawmaker said she was quoted as saying that she wanted to move a resolution.
She said action had been taken in the year 1997-98 during the then Nawaz Sharif regime against the same media group and at that time the group also avoided to pay outstanding taxes. She said the around Rs 4 billion was still pending with the specific media group and instead of clearing its dues, the group was hatching conspiracies against the government.
Sanaullah said if the PPP legislators had any complaint against the media, they should use the right forum. He reminded the House that a special committee had been formed in which the members of the press gallery committee were also included. He said PPP MPA Tanvir Ashraf Kaira was heading the committee.