Opposition members stage walkout over unaddressed queries
34th session of PA to last till Senate polls
LAHORE: The session of the Punjab Assembly on Monday could last just for a few minutes as the treasury failed to answer the questions of the lawmakers during the question-hour because of the absence of the minister and secretary of the concerned department.
As per the details, the questions related to the food and agriculture department were on the agenda item for Monday, but the speaker instructed not to take up the questions and said that the concerned minister and secretary had requested to put the questions related to their department on hold as they could not attend the proceedings due to a meeting of the cabinet committee on the same day.
The opposition protested over it and staged a walkout while reminding the speaker of his ruling in which he had made it compulsory for concerned secretaries to come to the house whenever the questions related to his or her department were on the agenda item.
Soon after the walkout, questions related to the food department were taken up, but the Parliamentary Secretary Chaudhry Asad Ullah once again failed to answer the queries made by Sardar Vickas Hassan Mokal of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q). As a result, the PML-Q parliamentarian, who was the only member of opposition left in the house at that time, too staged a walkout. Following the walkouts, the speaker adjourned the house till Tuesday morning.
Earlier, the session of the Punjab Assembly started after a delay of more than one and a half hour from its scheduled time of 2 pm with the deputy speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani in the chair. The chair apprised the house that some decisions were taken during the meeting of the business advisory committee and it had now been decided that the assembly proceedings would be started on time without much delay.
He further said that the attendance of only those lawmakers would be marked who would come in and all others would be considered absentees.
It is pertinent to mention here that most of the parliamentarians have made it a routine to leave the Punjab Assembly after marking their attendance in order to get their monthly salaries, and do not even bother to come to the house, which results in severe quorum issues.
SENATE POLLS AND PUNJAB ASSEMBLY:
Meanwhile, the attendance of the parliamentarians remained very thin on Monday as most of the MPAs were accompanying the candidates of their parties during their visit to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for the upcoming Senate polls.
Monday was the day for the scrutiny of the nomination papers for Senate polls and a large number of MPAs accompanied the candidates of their respective parties to the ECP office in Lahore.
The polling on 12 seats of Senate from Punjab is scheduled in the premises of the Punjab Assembly – a house of 371 that would elect these 12 senators on March 3. The candidates for the Senate polls have also started visiting the Punjab Assembly to garner the support of the lawmakers for the contest.
It may be noted that the ongoing 34th session of the Punjab Assembly would last till the Senate polls and now the house would meet for three days per week instead of five. Earlier, the session of the Punjab Assembly used to meet from Monday to Friday consecutively, but now it has been decided that the session would meet only on Monday, Tuesday and Friday till the Senate polls.