Legislators demand debate on MCAT, ECAT in PA
LAHORE: The opposition-led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday staged a protest in the Punjab Assembly as Leader of the Opposition Mian Mehmoodur Rashid was not allowed to move a resolution against the exorbitant petroleum prices.
Speaking on the point of order, the opposition leader said that he was assured that his resolution on the petroleum prices would be brought on the private-member day, but he could not see his resolution anywhere on the agenda item despite the fact that Tuesday was a private-member day.
Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan on the occasion said that you “could not move the resolution in such a way as one had to follow some rules and procedures made by the august house to introduce the resolution.”
Reacting to it, the opposition leader said that he could introduce the motion to suspend the rules in order to bring his out-of-turn resolution on the petroleum prices as the treasury benches did the same the other day when a resolution against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was passed in the house during the absence of the opposition.
The opposition later started chanting slogans when the speaker said the issue of petroleum prices was a federal subject and could not be discussed in the house.
Rashid further said that NAB was a state institution and it too came under the ambit of federal subjects, but the treasury hastily passed a resolution condemning the bureau’s role during the absence of the opposition. He also said the opposition would stage a walkout if he was not allowed to move the resolution and amid the protest of the opposition the quorum was pointed out by PTI lawmaker Nabeela Hakim Ali. The quorum was far less than the required number and the session was then adjourned until Wednesday morning.
It is pertinent to note that according to Rashid’s resolution submitted on March 1, the government had increased the petroleum prices seven times during a short span of just one year, and so, the prices of all commodities had increased manifold.
Earlier in the day, Mian Aslam Iqbal of PTI while speaking on a point of order said corruption of billions of rupees was a part of the MCAT and ECAT entry tests that were mandatory to seek admission in medical and engineering colleges.
“There is a dire need to tame the private academies involved in charging exorbitant fees for the preparation of the tests and the report of the committee constituted to probe the irregularities in these exams must be brought to the august house,” he said.
Responding to Iqbal, Engineer Qamarul Islam Raja, who is the chairman of the Standing Committee on Education, said that a legislation was needed to rein in the private academies and the house should also pass a resolution to condemn them as they were indulged in playing with the future of the students. Raja, who is also the member of the Punjab Examination Commission agreed to Iqbal while saying that the role of private academies should be debated in the house.
During the question-hour, parliamentary leader of Jamaate Islami (JI) Dr Waseem Akhtar said funds worth billions were given to the judiciary every year, but unfortunately, the poor litigants suffered for decades while visiting the courts on a daily basis.
“It is common for the verdicts to arrive two to three generations later, and a legislation is needed to bring reforms in our judicial system,” he said.
Meanwhile, two private member resolutions moved by Hina Pervaiz Butt of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Nabeela Hakim Ali of the PTI were also passed in the house. Hina in her resolution demanded to solve the water crisis by developing major water reservoirs while Nabeela’s resolution demanded to give ownership rights to those living in the Katchi Abadis declared by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).