Opposition restricts treasury from taking up business


LAHORE – Protests by opposition parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), in the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday led to the adjournment of proceedings without the House taking up even a single agenda of official business.
The opposition’s protest started soon after the arrival of Unification Group leader Dr Tahir Ali Javed in the House. The opposition members jointly stood up and started chanting slogans against the members of the Unification Group, criticising them for changing loyalties. The House was earlier debating the issue of young doctors’ strike that had entered its 16th day and was creating problems for patients.
At the onset of proceedings, the speaker announced to start the question hour session on environment protection. But opposition member Akhtar Malik drew the House’s attention to the ongoing strike of young doctors. Speaking on a point of order, he said the government should take the issue seriously. He instead of resolving the issue, the government had indulged in a media campaign to paint the doctors on strike as “killers.”
But Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Rana Sanaullah said the government wanted to resolve the issue and a committee should be formed to look into the matter if the opposition wanted to play its role for the resolution of the issue. The speaker then announced to form a four member committee, saying two members each from the treasury and opposition should look into the matter.
PPP leader Shaukat Basra said that according to his information, the government planned to register cases against on-strike doctors. He said the self-proclaimed “chief servant” should come to the House and inform it about such issues instead of making tall claims outside the assembly.
PML-Q’s Samia Amjad said the government should raise the salaries of young doctors, saying if the government could pay Rs 18,000 to a constable, why were highly-educated doctors being paid lesser. Ashraf Sohna all issues related to the Health Department would have been settled in three days had there been a minister appointed to run the department.
However, the tide of argument shifted towards the Unification Group as soon as Tahir Ali Javed entered the House. The opposition’s anger grew manifold as Javed chose to sit on a seat reserved for ministers. On a point of order, PML-Q parliamentary leader Chaudhary Zaheer asked the speaker to notice the violation. Javed later changed his seat and sat on the designated one.
Meanwhile, Punjab Assembly (PA) Opposition Leader Raja Riaz threatened on Tuesday to hamper house proceedings if anyone else tried to respond to questions on behalf of the Punjab chief minister.
He said that the CM must attend the assembly sessions because he was answerable to the house and the provincial assembly members (MPAs) could question him on matters in his jurisdiction.