PML-N’s MPA protests over alleged transfer of public schools to Ahmadis

  • Opposition leader wants general discussion in PA on 56 public sector companies

LAHORE: A ruling party lawmaker Maulana Ghiyas-ud-Din protested over the alleged handing over of public sector schools to Ahmadis in the guise of transferring these schools to the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) on Thursday.

Speaking on the point of order in the Punjab Assembly during the question-hour session that was designated for the School Education and Revenue departments, Maulana said that the School Education Minister Rana Mashhood is applauding PEF’s performance, but he’s forgetting that the same PEF is handing over hundreds of schools to Ahmadis. Mum was the word in the house when Maulana was uttering these words, and minister Rana Mashhood also preferred to remain silent on the issue—despite the fact that he was earlier praising the foundation passionately.

Later, talking to Pakistan Today, Maulana claimed that 186 public sector schools have been given to Ahmadis in Narowal district only, and he has discussed the issue with Rana Mashhood multiple times, but no action was ever taken. Maulana also vowed to discuss the matter with his like-minded colleagues—Maulana Ilyas Chinioti and Maulana Mahfooz Mashhadi—to bring an adjournment motion or resolution in the house over the issue.

“The PEF handed over these schools in three phases to an NGO called ‘the Citizens Foundation’. The NGO further transferred these schools to Ahmadis, and I have hundreds of examples where these schools are being run by Ahmadis in the Marara town near the Shakargarh,” Maulana, a three-time MPA from Narowal, said.

“The Ahmadis, in the guise of giving education, are imparting hatred against our country and religion to our new generation,” he added.

Earlier, answering the queries of his fellow lawmakers, Mashhood said that 2,900 public sectors schools have been upgraded in the Punjab during the last four years, and it has been ensured that at least four teachers must be appointed in every school to impart quality education.

The claim of minister was refuted by a ruling party MPA from Sahiwal Arshad Malik, however, when he said that there are some schools in his constituency where there is only a single teacher for more than 200 students, and there are multiple schools with deserted buildings, where one can find donkeys, horses and buffaloes instead of students studying there.

Appreciating the performance of PEF, school education minister said that the model of PEF is being replicated in Brazil and some other countries of Africa. “The enrollment of students with PEF has been increased from 1.2 to 2.6 million since the inception of this initiative, and there is a discussion in India, Nigeria and Mexico to replicate our model as well,” the minister said, while answering the query of an independent lawmaker from Faisalabad Ehsan Riaz Fatyana.

Speaking on a point of order, Leader of the Opposition Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed lambasted the 56 public sector companies that were established by the Punjab government under the public-private partnership. “Billions are being spent on Lahore Waste Management Company, Lahore Parking Company, Lahore Transport Company, Punjab Saaf Pani Company and others. Being the custodians of this house, we want general discussion over these companies in the assembly,” the opposition leader said.

The taxpayers’ money is being spent extravagantly on these companies, as a CEO of a company is withdrawing over a million in salary from the exchequer and there is also proof of financial irregularities in these companies, he said.

Answering the opposition leader, Rana Mashhood said that if he really wants a general discussion on these companies, the opposition leader should take up the matter in the Business Advisory Council.

Earlier, the session started after a delay of more than one hour with Speaker Rana Iqbal in the chair, and questions related to the Revenue Department were answered by the Parliamentary Secretary Nazia Raheel.

General discussion on the annual report of the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women for the year 2016 was also on the agenda item, but it could not be taken up because of the collapse of quorum that the treasury failed to meet, even after adjourning the session for 20 minutes, and then the chair adjourned the session for Friday morning.