Non-consideration of opp leader’s bill prompts walkout

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–Bill for allowing registration of Sikh marriages at UC level also introduced in PA’s session

LAHORE: The opposition parties staged a walkout in the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday as Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan refused to refer a Private Member Bill of Opposition Leader Mian Mehmood ur Rashid to the concerned standing committee.

As per the details, the leader of the opposition introduced the Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2017 in the house on the private members’ day seeking amendment in the Provincial Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1965, in order to take action against the motorbike riders who switch traffic lanes abruptly, endangering the lives of other commuters as well. The bill of the opposition leader stipulated imprisonment up to one month and a fine ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 rupees against such motorbike riders. The law minister asked the opposition leader to have some collective deliberation over the bill and said that he should first consult the bill with the traffic experts prior referring it to the standing committee. The opposition leader said that the treasury wants to oppress the voice of opposition as more than 40 of its bills are still pending in the house. He rigorously talked about the traffic issues and also suggested to designate one special lane for the motorbike riders before staging a walkout from the house.

‘The Punjab Regulation of Public Infrastructure Projects Bill 2017’ and ‘The Punjab Anand Karaj Bill 2017’ were referred to the concerned committees seeking report within two months earlier in the day.

The Punjab Regulation of Public Infrastructure Projects Bill 2017 intends to ensure the quality control standards of different public infrastructure projects. An imprisonment of five to ten years would be given if someone violates the provisions of building code and set standards in the public infrastructure projects.

The Punjab Anand Karaj Bill 2017 that would help the Sikh couples to register their marriages at the Union Council levels was also introduced by the only Sikh lawmaker of the Punjab Assembly Sardar Ramesh Singh Arora in the house.

Talking to Pakistan Today, Ramesh Singh termed his bill historic and said that the Punjab Assembly would write a new history once this bill would become an act after getting passed. “This would be the first of its kind legislation in the whole world and I am quite sure that other lawmaking bodies of the world would also follow the Punjab Assembly in the future,” the first ever Sikh MPA of Punjab since the partition said. The bill has been referred to the standing committee of Human Rights and Minority Affairs for further deliberations where Ramesh Singh said that he would thoroughly consult the bill with all the stakeholders including the civil society and Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee and it is worth mentioning here that Ramesh himself heads the concerned standing committee of the Punjab Assembly. Ramesh further added that a resolution would also be passed demanding the National Assembly to adopt the same bill once it is passed from the Punjab Assembly and then it would be applicable to the whole country that is the home to nearly 20,000 Sikhs.

Earlier in the day, questions related to the Forestry, Fisheries &Wildlife and Planning &Development departments were given by the Parliamentary Secretary Fida Hussain Wattoo and minister Malik Nadeem Kamran respectively during the question-hour. Parliamentary Secretary Wattoo was so ill-prepared to answer the queries of the lawmakers that speaker Rana Iqbal Khan had to ask him to come to the house after complete preparation.

The session was later adjourned for Wednesday morning after completing the agenda of the day.